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For nearly 2000 years the Roman Catholic Church has built a 

financial, political and religious empire that wields 
extraordinary power throughout the world, Today, that Church 
is being split apart by differences-bolh political and personal - 

between fou r major power groups. 




Stripping a way centuries-old mysteries, Malachi Martin's 

controversial bestseller presents the wily stratagems, the 

cynical manoeuverings each rival Taction employs to secure 

Peter's throne for its candidate. THE FINAL CONCLAVE is an 

astonishingly and timely tour-de-force combining fiction and 

non-fiction in a gripping manner. 

The Final Conclave 

"Fascinating, frightening and solidly futuristic. It's a book for 

Jews t Protestants and others as well as Catholics. The future of 

western civilization, after all, is everybody's business." 


"It is a book like none other, and deserves to be read by 

anvone interested in the future of an organisation that 

profoundly influences a third or mankinds 


UK 95p 

Australia ,.*$2,95 

New Zealand $2.95 

Rep, ol Ireland.... £1.0472 







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The shocking bestseller that takes you into 
the innermost sanctums of the Vatican - 
a provocative, compelling look at the 
Catholic Church in crisis . . . 

■>■■ . ^^*;^fcrggmM 




* that makes public — for the first time — the hid- 
den drama of politics and passions behind papal 

* that was on no fewer than ten bestseller lists — 
within days of publication 

* that no-one today can afford to ignore 

So monumental are the implications of THE FINAL 
CONCLAVE that normal publishing procedures could 
not be followed when it was printed in hardcover. No 
galley proofs were made. Advance review copies could 
not be distributed. Arrangements were made to ship 
all copies of the finished book simultaneously to all 
parts of America to minimize any opportunity for the 
book to be surpressed. 

The reason for all this is simple. THE FINAL CON- 
CLAVE discloses secrets previously known to fewer 
than a dozen people in the world . . • 





A CORGI BOOK 552 10982 7 

First published in Great Britain by Melbourne House Ltd. 


Melbourne House edition pub'd 1978 
Corgi edition published 1978 

Copyright © Malachi Martin 1978 

Conditions of Sale: 

1 : This book is sold subject to the condition that it 

shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, 

hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's 

prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that 

in which it is published and without a similar condition 

including this condition being imposed on the subsequent 


2: This book is sold subject to the Standard Conditions of 

Sale of Net Books and may not be re-sold in the U.K. below 

the net price fixed by the publishers for the book. 

Corgi Books are published by 

Transworld Publishers Ltd., 

Century House, 61-63 Uxbridge Road, 

Ealing, London, W.5. 

Made and printed in the United States of America 

by Areata Graphics 

Buffalo, New York 

For the deliberations of mortals are timid, 

and unsure are our plans. 
. . . who ever knew your counsel, except you had given 

Wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? 
And thus were the paths of those on earth made 


Wisdom 9:14, 17-18 

Author's Note 

The heart of this book, beginning on page 1 25, is the 
description of Conclave 82. The participants are fic- 
tional. But in every other respect it is a scenario based 
upon the factual material preceding it and upon all 
available accurate knowledge of the issues and factions 
at work in the choice of Pope Paul's successor. 



Author's Note vii 




The Pre-Conclave Bulletins, 1970-1977 49 

Series One-i 970 51 

Series Two-i 971 54 

Series Three-i 972 59 

Series Four-7975 64 

Series Five-i 974 67 

Series Six^i 975 70 

Series Seven-i 976 81 

Series Eight-i 977 87 
Special Bulletin-How the Votes Fall 

on the Eve of Conclave 82 107 
Special Bulletins-From the Death of Paul 6 

to the Opening of Conclave 82 113 


The Opening Evening 127 

6:45 v.M.-7:00 P.M. 127 

The Preliminary Session 131 

Night: 9:00 p.M.-i:00 a.m. 148 

The First Day 236 

Morning: 5:00 A.M -10:00 A.M. 236 

x Contents 

The First Session 253 

Afternoon: 2:00 p.m,-4:00 P.M. 332 

The Second Session 333 

Night: 6:00 p. m -1:00 km. 355 

The Second Day 378 

Morning: 5:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M. 378 

The Third Session 381 

Index 417 


Afranus Burrus, 9 
Africa, 100, 184, 185 
Alessandrini, F., 88 
Alinsky, S., 84 
Allende, S., 56, 188#. 
American Christians Toward 

Socialism, 186 
American democracy, 3 1 8$. 
American Initiative, 73, 75, 

78, 84, 86 
American Institute of Public 

Opinion, 54 
Anti-Pope, 146 
Arroyo, Fr. A., 186 
Arrupe, Fr. P., 55, 95 
Assman, H., 186 

Baggio, Card., 101, 102, 109 

Baptists, 170 

Baum, Card., 183 

Benelli, Card., 84, 90-91, 111, 

Bengsch, Bp., 101 
Bernardin, Archbp., 93 
Bertoli, Card., 109 
Blessing, The, 4, 10 
Bonino, M., 186 
Buddhism, 172 
Bueno y Monreal, Card., 103 
Bugnini, Archbp., Ill 

Call to Action, 84, 85, 86, 186 
Cambridge, Mass., 171 
Camerlengo, 104, 113, 127#. 
Canon Law, 55 
Cardinals, 11, 16, 52,53,59, 

104, 107, 176, 270#. 
Carillo, S-, 168 
Carter, Pres., 88 
Casaroli, Archbp., 21, 55, 80, 

102, 325 
Castel Gandolfo, 43, 92 
Catholic Church, 229#., 251, 

Catholic Left, 44, 158 
Catholic Right, 158 
Catholicism, 166-67, 216 
Celestine 5, Pope, 51 
Celibacy, 54 
Center for Strategic and 

International Studies, 90 
Charismatics, 13, 14, 167-68, 

Chigi, Prince, 128 
"Chinese Schedule," 160 
Christian Marxists, 13, 79, 80, 

99-101, 139, 155#., 161, 

289#., 339#. 
Christians for Socialism, 

Report, 365 
Christian Scientists, 170 




Christian Unity, 137 
Christian World, 260#. 
Church, The, 4, 5, 6, 170, 

Ciappi, Card., 91, 1080. 
Cippico, E„ 29 
Cline, R., 90 
Coalition Policy, 378 
Cody, Card., 32 
Colby, W., 90 
Colleger of Cardinals, 20 1#., 

Conclave, 11, 15, 16,47,64, 

65, 70, 72,83,91, 101, 

103-05, 115-23 
Conference of Latin American 

Bishops, 54 
Connolly, J., 90 
Conservatives, 14, 31, 32, 69, 

83, 108, 109 
Conway, Card., 81 
Cooke, Card., 78, 82, 92, 93 
Curran, Fr., 183 
Czestochowa, 92-93 

Davies, John O., 54 
Deardon, Card., 61, 85 
Democracy, 162/?. 
Democratic Socialism, 141 
Domus Mariae, 105, 123, 236 
Dulles, Fr. A., 183,249 

Faenza, 326 
Fazzini, P., 96, 106 
Felici, Card., 101, 108 
Filipiak, Card., 81 
"Finlandization," 90, 155, 

France, 87 
Franco, General, 68 
Franic, Archbp., 98 

Gallup, G., Jr., 54 
Gantin, Card., 91 
General Council, 207 
General Policy Framework, 
132, 146, 154, 166, 168, 
180, 198,210,214,221, 
244#., 255 
Gerety, Archbp., 82, 84 
Gethsemane, 8 
Gouyon, Card., 61 
Graham, Billy, 93 
Gutierrez, Fr., 167, 186 

Haynal, G., 57 
Hermon, Mt., 3-7, 15 
Heusing, Fr., 183 
Hinduism, 172 
Hoffner, Card., 32, 101 
Holland, 101 
Hruza, K., 88 
Hume, Card., 101 

Eagan, Mons. J., 84 
Eastern Orthodoxy, 172 
Ecclesiam Suam, Sin. 
Electronic Surveillance, 72, 

Etchegaray, Archbp., 68^ 101, 

Eucharistic Congress (Phil., 

Pa.), 82 
Eurocommunism, 79 
European unity, 91 
Exhortation, 116-23 

Institute for Religious Works, 

30, 212#. 
Integral Humanism, 23 
Intelligence Records, 358 
Islam, 172 
Israel, 214#. 
Italian Cardinals, 68-69 
Italian Communists, 209 
Italy, 70, 88#., 95 

Jadot, Archbp., 85, 99 
Jesuits, 186 



Jesus, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 
John 23, Pope, 22, 23 

Kadar, J., 55, 93 

Kim, Card., 59 

Konig, Card., 55, 103 

Krakow ( Pol. ), 93 

Kraszemski, Bp., 93 

Krol, Card., 78, 82, 85, 86, 94 

Kiing, H., 55, 167-68, 183, 249 

Latin America, 78, 103, 160, 

lS5ff. t 190,210,218^., 

Lauren tin, Fr., 167, 183 
Lefebvre, Archbp., 36-46, 59, 

70, 111, 138, 158 
Left, The, 55 
Leftists, 102 
Leger, Card., 103 
Lekai, Card., 81,82,93 
Levi, Mans, V., 89 
Liberation Report, 363 
Linus, Pope, 9-10 
Luce, Clare Boothe, 90 
Lutherans, 170 
Limited Aggrandizement 

Policy, 181#. • 

Macchi, Don P., 21, 32, 33, 

Maoism, 188 

Marcinkus, Bp., 32, 33, 325 
Maritain, J., 23 
Martin, Amb. J., 64 
Martin 5, Pope, 68 
Marty, Card., 61 
Marxism, 22, 55, 56, 61, 87, 

89, 153, 249,291, 319^., 

Maryknoll, 82 
McGrath, Archbp., 82 
Memory, 4, 5, 6 
Mennini, L., 30 

Methodists, 170 
Miklos, L, 93 
Mindzenty, Card., 55 
Missionary activity, 168 
Montini, 20-27 
Mormons, 170 
Moscow, 55, 87 
Mozambique, 56 

Nero, 9, 10, 235 
Nervi, 11, 12,56, 57,58,96, 
106, 123 

New Theologians, 14, 102, 

167, 248 
Nyerere, J., 88 

Oath of Conclave, 115-16 
CVBoyle, Card., 83 
Octogesima Adveniens, 60 
"Open" Church, 300^., 328 
Osservatore Romano, 43, 88, 

89, 95 
Ostkardinalaat, 73, 75, 163, 

193, 195 
Ostpolitik, 21 
Ottaviani, Card., 21, 31 

PacelIi(Piusl2),21, 22 
Panama Canal Treaty, 100 
Pan-European Candidate, 90, 

110, 150, 159ff„ 163, 192/?., 

Papabili, 53, 74, 76, 83, 94, 

101, 133, 152, 195#. 
Papacy, 61ff. 
Parente, Card., 51 
Paul 6, Pope, 10-48, 54-121, 

177#., 327 
Pauline Chapel, 115 
Pauline Mass, 59-60 
Peking, 200 




Peter, 3, 4, 10, 13 
Pignedoli, Card., 61, 64, 82, 

101, 108, 109 
Pilgrim Pope, 20, 23,48, 

Pio Laghi, Archbp., 325 
Poland, 92 
Pope, The, 2020., 2300., 

Populorum Progressio, 29-30 
Position Papers, 129, 130, 135, 

145, 166 
Prague, 94 
Prefecture of Economic 

Affairs, 31, 211-120. 
Preliminary Session, 123-48 
Presbyterians, 170 
Priorities for Election, 15 Iff. 
Progressivists, 13, 55, 69, 102, 

110, 136, 2310., 3280. 

Secret Reports, 2160., 3510. 

Segundo, Fr., 186 

Shehan, Card., 82 

Silva Henriquez, Card., 56 

Silvestrini, Archbp., 325 

Simon Peter, 4-8, 15, 114 

Sindona, M., 28, 32-36, 71, 

Siri, Card., 59, 103 

Sistine Chapel, 11, 105, 115, 

Societa Generate Immobiliare, 

South Africa, 100 

Spada, M., 30 

Special Administration of 
Vatican Property, 30 

Special Constitution (Con- 
claves), 115 

Suenens, Card., 55, 73, 92, 171 

Synod of Bishops, 96, 100 

Radicals, 14-15,69, 110-11, 

Ratzinger, Card., 91, 101 
Razafimahatratra, Card., 59 
Report on the Soviets, 210 
Rhine Group, 174 
Rightists, 102 
Roman Curia, 2060. 
Rome, 2660. 
Rossi, Card. A., 55-56 
Russian Initiative, 363 
Ruzzo, E,, 154, 355, 356 

St. Peter's, 10, 115, 128-29 
St. Stephen's Crown, 93 
Samore, Card., 59 
San Damaso Courtyard, 128 
Sao Paulo (Brazil), 55, 328 
Satan, 4, 5, 6, 12 
Schillebeeckx, Fr., 167, 183, 

Schuler, M., 186 

Tanzania, 88 
Thiandoum, Card., 41 
Third World, 39, 68, 89, 185, 

Tito, Marshal, 55 
Tomasek, Card., 81,94 
Torres, Fr., 186 
Traditionalists, 14, 61,69, 

105-10, 134,3380. 
Traglia, Card., 59, 104 
Trilateralism, 155 
Triumph, The, 4, 10 

Unitarian Church, 170 
United Nations, 24-28 
Upper Room, 58, 105 
U.S.A., 68, 2150., 2220. 
U.S.S.R., 91, 98, 151, 158, 

U Thant, 24-25 



Vagnozzi, Card., 31, 32, 59, 

Van Binh, Archbp., 98 
Vatican, 29-36, 87, 88, 229£. 
Vatican Council, 22, 36, 52, 

173#„ 279#. 
Vatican Hill, 9, 10, 12, 106 
Vatican-Hungarian Relations, 

Vatican Investments, 29-36, 

165, 173, 237#., 368 
Via della Conciliazione, 129 
ViaVeneto, 129 
Villot, Card., 21, 38, 61ff., 86, 


Voice of Rome, 392#. 
Vox Populi, 384 

Walters, D., 88 
Warsaw, 92 
Western Europe, 155 
Westkardinalaat, 163 
Willebrands, Card., 21, 101 
Wojtyla, Card., 76, 82 
Wright, Card., 21 
Wyszynski, Card., 76, 92, 93, 

Yii Pin, Card., 59 


Up on the flat rock perched between Mount Hermon's three 
peaks, Jesus and the "Prince of this World," as Jesus 
sometimes called him, had met head-on some years before. 
Mount Hermon's 9,232-foot head is forever lifted above 
everything, visible to the naked eye from everywhere 
around this land: southward from Syria, eastward from 
the Mediterranean, northward from the tip of the Dead 
Sea. And, so the Bedouins say, westward from the middle 
of the Great Desert. 

"All you can see from this rock," the Prince had cajoled, 
grandiosely sweeping in the vast horizon of kingdoms and 
sea lanes at their feet, "all these will I give you, if you 
will kneel down and adore me — be my servant!" Power 
for power. That was the deal. Between Satan and Jesus it 
has always been a dispute about power. The Prince had 
lost that round. 

Now, near Hermon again, and some three years later, 
Jesus rubs salt into the wound of that defeat. It is not hard 
to picture. The scene is somewhere outside the Syrian 
town that is today called Baniyas, at the foot of the triple- 
peaked, snow-capped mountain of Hermon. Close by, the 
River Jordan springs up and flows down the length of 
Palestine, filling village wells, giving life to olive planta- 
tions, vegetable gardens, to fields of melons, to orchards 
full of oranges, figs, apples, pomegranates, and to fields 
enameled with wild flowers. The blue skies above the im- 
mobile face of Hermon host the brilliant noonday sun- 
shine; even the slate-grays and browns and yellows of sand 
and stone force eyes to squint against reflected glare. The 
wind ruffles hair and clothes. The Jordan waters chatter 
behind the voices of the small band of men making their 
way up toward Hermon. 



Jesus, in the lead as usual, flings an apparently innocent 
question over his shoulder, as he sometimes does about 
local gossip: "Who do you say I am?" 

The impetuous Simon blurts out the first sentiment he 
feels: "You are Christ, the Son of the living God." 

Jesus stops abruptly. One imagines his eyes riveting 
Simon's gaze. "You are blessed, Simon! No mere human 
told you that. It is my father in Heaven who revealed it 
to you. Now I tell you solemnly, atta keja: You are rock! 
Upon you, as on a rock, I will so build my Church that 
all Satan's force will not destroy it. I will give you the 
Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on 
earth will be what Heaven forbids. Whatever you allow on 
earth will be what Heaven allows." 

These are the words that reveal the endless course of 
God's power among human beings, and the endless struggle 
joined against it by "all Satan's force.** Jesus reassures Peter 
and all that belong to him that they will finally enjoy a 
special Triumph and Blessing. The Triumph will be Jesus' 
triumph and that of his Church over Satan. The Blessing 
will be the universality: All men and women will accept 
Jesus' salvation and believe in him. But neither the 
Triumph nor the Blessing will be won by Jesus alone. He 
binds himself to Peter, to his Church, to all Peter's suc- 
cessors, and to all men and women. 

John and James and Judas and the others respond to 
Jesus' symbolism immediately, glancing up at the rock of 
Hermon, then back to Jesus' face. They know him well 
enough! He is saying and doing something significant. But 
they do not understand. "It was hidden from us," Mark 
would write years after the event, "and we were afraid to 
ask him about it all." 

Of all the choices Jesus might have made for the first 
leader of his Church, Simon had to be the least likely. 
In his betrayal of Jesus by public perjury, Simon would 
be second only to Judas Iscariot who would actually sell 
Jesus to his enemies for money. At the first onrush of 
difficulty, this "rock" would run for cover like a scared 
rabbit. Yet, years later, he would be martyred and would 
not flinch in his love or devotion. 

Even on that day near Hermon, Jesus knows of what 
Simon is capable, as clearly as he knows the sneering con- 
tempt of the Prince for this "rock" of a man. For it is 
within his unique memory that Jesus speaks to Simon as 

The Beginning 5 

head of the Church, about the Church, about Satan's end- 
less, tireless threat. And it is within that all-encompassing 
memory of Jesus that what he says to Simon, he says as 
well to Pope Paul 6 as to every Pope who will come after. 

The very key to understanding here is Jesus' memory. 
For this is not memory in the puny way we understand it: 

". . . The Board of Ed. has abolished memory lessons 
as a waste of the pupils* potential. . . ." 

"Scratch your memory, dear: Where did you put 
my cufflinks? . . ." 

"Forget I ever gave you this money, pal. . . .'* 

"For a simple fee of $500, we guarantee you a photo- 
graphic memory at the end of our five-week 
course. . . .*' 

"The IBM 3033 carries eight megabytes in its capa- 
cious memory. , , ." 

In the reduced state of our twentieth-century thinking, we 
see memory merely as a miniaturized electronic computer, 
singsonging facts and figures along nerves and synaptic 
joints. Yet, in some way, most of us still realize that when 
we give rein to our hates, our fears, our loyalties, our 
hopes — feeling areas where our total selves are involved — 
we exercise memory in some greater sense. Facts and 
figures perhaps. The past as well. Also, the future. All 
made present within our conscious selves. Only sleep, 
weariness, the close presence of evil, or our own choice, 
seem to make that full memory opaque, dormant. 

In Jesus, that memory is an ever-awake consciousness 
of spirit that never sleeps because never tired, because 
never only mortal. Nothing past. Nothing simply in the 
future. All present. 

So, at this moment, near Hermon, the ordinary dimen- 
sions of existence are transcended. Time past is as if it 
never expired. Time to come is already accomplished. All 
for this instant. Simon, now kefa, Petros, Peter, the rock, 
is the current head of the Church — in every age. The 1 1 
others are multiplied into the millions and billions of all 
other men and women and children. And the narrow piece 
of desert scrubland where these 13 men stand is a kaleido- 
scope not only of the earth, but of the universe — the planet 


Earth as well as the stars and endless galaxies. And Judas 
is there. And the Prince. 

Everything about this occasion is symbol as well as 
reality. The mountain called Hermon. The Jordan. Rock. 
Water. Permanence and life. The rock on which the 
Prince dared to tempt Jesus, Jesus has taken as the symbol 
of his own power and of his own constancy in the world 
forever. Above all, the choice of Simon: always, victory 
over Satan through the weakest elements. "God has chosen 
the weak and the foolish to confuse the wise of this world," 
Paul would write some 40 years later. And so Simon with 
his dull mind and weak determination is God's answer to 
the Prince whose brilliance of intelligence and unbreak- 
able will is thus diametrically opposed. Humanly, we can 
almost hear God answering Satan's defiance: 

You say that your wisdom and strength entitles you 
to pride of place? Very well, then. Your "humiliation 
will be complete. I will beat you down and destroy you 
ultimately and forever precisely through what is 
weakest, what is almost stupid, what is despicable in 
your eyes. 

As if the rabbit killed the snake. As if the starving 
prisoners of Gulag overthrew the Red Army. As if a 
trainload of whipped Jews on the way to Auschwitz 
brought Hitler and all his power to nothing. 

But there is more. The affront to the Prince at Hermon 
is magnified. In the face of this Enemy, Jesus is relentless. 
Puny Simon is not only the rock for Jesus' Church. Puny 
Simo'n will personally have the power to represent Jesus. 
Personally! This pygmy will have greater power than the 
fallen Archangel ever had. Concrete power. The Keys to 
the Kingdom. The secret of eternal bliss. Whatever this 
Simon allows is what Jesus allows. Whatever this Simon 
forbids, Jesus forbids. Jesus can and will make sure that 
in all matters concerning entry into Heaven Simon cannot 
err. Puny Simon. "I will be with you all days, right up to 
the end of the universe." Simon will be Jesus' personal 
representative and the source of guidance for all subse- 
quent believers. 

That day in Jesus 1 memory up on Mount Hermon all 
those believers hear his words, "You are Peter." And he 
hears those believers centuries later as they coin the re- 

The Beginning 7 

sponding phrase: "Where Peter is, there is the Church of 

That day, Simon does not understand. But even that will 
not destroy the course Jesus has set. Looking into Simon's 
eyes squinting back at him in the brilliance of the sunlight, 
Jesus sees it all. All the mistakes and the blundering 
adaptations Simon would try to fashion from Jesus' message 
of universal salvation. And as with Simon's gifts, so with 
his mistakes : They would be shared down the centuries. 

First: the mistake of political domination. Simon would 
understand the peculiar power of Jesus in terms of con- 
quest and empire. "Isn't it just now, Lord?" S ; mon will ask 
crassly, even after Jesus rises from death. "Isn't it just now 
that you are going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?" 
Most of Simon's successors in Rome for nearly 2,000 
years would make the same mistake. It is an idea whose 
attraction dies hard. The Triumph of Jesus translated into 
imperial" triumph. 

Then: ethnic domination. Simon would fail to under- 
stand the universal nature of Jesus 1 intention. Even shortly 
after he receives the Holy Spirit, Simon will insist that 
Christianity is an ethnic privilege. He will stubbornly re- 
fuse Baptism to non-Jews. When Jesus must send Simon 
a special message to make him bend on this point, even 
then Simon will tell the others — Paul and people like 
him — to baptize non-Jews. But he will not. 

And a third: geographical domination. Toward the end 
of his life, as a prisoner in Rome, Simon would tie Jesus' 
salvation to one place. He would remain a Palestinian. In 
his own persistent hatred of Rome, his hard-headed idea 
would exclude the love and the reality of Jesus. Jesus would 
come back soon at Armageddon near the Plain of Sharon 
in Palestine, Peter believed and taught. He would take 
Jerusalem and destroy Rome and its empire. 

In that destruction would lie the Triumph of Jesus and 
of all who believe in him. In the survival of the believers, 
according to this view, would be the Blessing of Jesus. But 
if that were so, that Blessing would be translated into a 
temporal blessing of an elitist people; and the Triumph 
would merely be the setting up of a special heartland. How 
many would seem to be excluded by these mistakes re- 
peated down the centuries! 

Still, Jesus will work even with these limitations of 
Simon's. As he will work with the limitations of each one 


of Simon's successors. As he will work through all the 
complaints and wars and strifes and schisms that will cen- 
ter upon the lack of understanding of and by these weak 
men through the painful centuries. 

Peter did not understand things any better, perhaps, 
than the throngs who deserted Jesus in bitter disillusion- 
ment, when Jesus did not, as they expected, restore politi- 
cal power to Israel upon his triumphant entry into Jerusa- 
lem three days before his death. But in all his confusion, 
Simon would never finally desert Jesus, never forgo his 
love for Jesus. And, in the end, what matters to Jesus is 
that a man not renounce love. No Peter would. And Jesus 
would never desert Peter. 

Late one night, a few months after that dazzling day 
on Mount Hermon, Jesus walks with a much smaller 
group in the darkness toward the Garden of Gethsemane. 
Again, Simon walks behind Jesus. Again, he hears Jesus 
speaking to him. "Simon, Satan has claimed power over 
you and intends to make you his plaything and instru- 
ment." So, Simon is warned again: He will be fair game 
for Satan. 

But then, in that power-based assertiveness, that com- 
manding supremacy that was unique to him, Jesus goes on: 
"But I have prayed for you so that your faith does not 
fail or falter. When, therefore, you fail . . ." the insistent 
realism of those words must have cut at the heart of the 
emotional Simon, "... when, therefore, you fail, you will 
be able to repent your error. And you will be able to give 
all associated with you fresh grounds for continuing be- 

That is all Simon is told. Jesus maintains the mystery of 
his ultimate intentions and deep purposes. It is only his 
methods he reveals. For the rest, Simon must make do 
with the limitations of his own character. As must each 
of his successors. Until one last moment for each. . . . 

On another night some thirty years later in Rome, Simon 
Peter at last sees it all as Jesus saw it all from the begin- 
ning! Even then, Simon sees it from a topsy-turvy angle. 
He and some two thousand other Christians have been tied 
to crosses stuck upside down on the grassy embankment 
around the Imperial Gardens on Vatican Hill. They have 
been daubed with pitch. Tonight, they are to be living, 

The Beginning 9 

screaming, dying torches. "Emperor Nero, his lovely con- 
cubine Poppaea, and their guests will have light to eat 
by and sights to joke about. Each Christian will die in the 
classical sign of Satan — the upside-down cross. 

Down the Vatican Hill and across the River Tiber, a 
slave called Linus stands silent, watching. Simon Peter had 
once baptized him. And then, this morning when they 
came to take Simon Peter to die in the Gardens, he had 
called Linus and appointed him as his successor. "You are 
the rock now, Linus." Simon Peter told Linus this in the 
presence of all Christian leaders. "You are Peter. . . . 
Lead them, as I have led them. In the name of Jesus. My 
death doesn't matter. The Lord is coming soon." From 
where he stands now, Linus can see slaves running among 
the crosses setting the bodies on fire with quick jabs of 
blazing torches to each head. 

Out of Linus's hearing, Simon Peter keeps mumbling the 
last words he had said to Jesus: "Lord, I love you. You 
know I love you. I love you." Through the smell and the 
smoke and the Roman laughter. "You know I love you, 
Lord," Simon Peter awaits his turn. 

Then, through the haze, Simon Peter can make out the 
bulky figure of a centurion standing in front of him, legs 
wide apart, red cloak hanging down the left side. In the 
light of the flames, Simon Peter catches the flash of the 
short sword held in the right hand, motionless, but at the 
ready for thrusting. 

"By the grace of Afranus Burrus, Jew," the centurion 
mutters quietly and dutifully, as he tenses for the strike. 
Simon Peter is not for burning. Burrus, a Christian convert 
with influence in high places, has obtained as last favor 
for Simon Peter that he die by the sword. 

Amid all the horror, the fire and smoke, the screams of 
the dying, the music, the laughter of the guests, there is an 
instant of light for Simon. All is clear. The cold smile of 
that blade. The tightening of the centurion's fingers around 
the haft. The muscles stiffening in the wrist and arm. The 
bracing of those two legs. The right side of the body 
drawing back measuredly. Simon Peter's consciousness is 
flooded with memories. Forgive them. . . . Bless them. . . . 
Pray for them. . . . Love them. , . . Do good to them. , . . 
Whatever you allow on this earth will be what Heaven 
allows. . . . Whatever you forbid on earth will be what 
Heaven forbids. . . . You are Peter. ... He sees the face 


of his beloved Jesus once again, as every Pope does at 
death's hour, and now for the first time he enters Jesus 1 
memory where all is achieved — the full Triumph of Jesus, 
the full Blessing of Jesus — all in a flash as the blade bites 
between his ribs and goes through lung and heart. All men 
and women. No Jews. No Gentiles. All one. Not Palestine 
alone. Not Rome merely. But all lands. The earth. The 
skies. The beginning. The end. The sin. The Prince of the 
world sneering. Jesus on Calvary. Jesus in glory. . . . 

As the sword comes out, it draws blood after it like a 
waving crimson ribbon. A clean cut done by an expert. 
The centurion sees a wasting mask of agony and terror fall 
momentarily like a pinching claw over Simon Peter's face, 
drawing every feature together in a knot of suffering. A 
moment when the body grows rigid, stiff, straight, as taut 
as the pole holding it, vibrating within itself from the toes 
down to the head in a last inner effort. Then it collapses, 
twitching, eyes rolling, the face relaxing in that expression- 
less resignation and helplessness only death confers, blood 
and phlegm pouring out from the mouth in the low groan 
of one last breath, urine and excrement dropping to the 

In the following week, the body of Simon Peter is re- 
covered by Linus and the other Christians. In the dark- 
ness of night, they hurriedly dig his grave in a spot to- 
ward the north end of Vatican Hill. Among Christians the 
spot over Simon Peter's grave will be known as the 
"memory" of Peter. 

The word goes out via the Christian grapevine to the 
small Christian communities in Milan, in Marseilles, in the 
Greek cities, in Syria and Palestine and Africa: "Peter is 
dead. Linus is his choice." 

Today, on that same north side of Vatican Hill, the "mem- 
ory" of Peter is now in the central crypt of a huge Basilica, 
Saint Peter's, built around the spot where Peter died dur- 
ing Nero's banquet. Beside the Basilica, there is an elab- 
orate 1,000-room building, the Apostolic Palace. 

On the fourth floor of one wing of that Palace, about 
400 yards from Peter's "memory," the death of Pope Paul 
takes place. Paul's waning hours and days are assiduously 

The Beginning 1 1 

watched by the powerful Vatican bureaucracy and followed 
over radio and television by hundreds of millions of peo- 
ple in every land on this earth. 

Paul has some comfort. He, like all Popes, has made his 
adaptations of Jesus 1 message. And, now, with death 
closing in on him, the vision of Jesus is also his lot. Paul's 
entry into the memory of Jesus, his moment of utter, time- 
less clarity. 

As far as the memory of Jesus goes, it is the same for 
Simon's death and Linus's appointment as it is for the 
death of Paul 6 and the appointment of Paul's successor. 
Oniy for us, as once for Simon Peter, the details are con- 

About 600 yards from the "memory" of Simon Peter, the 
successor to the dying Paul 6 and to Simon Peter will be 
appointed by the votes cast in a special meeting called a 
Conclave. Up to 120 Cardinals of the Roman Catholic 
Church, each one over fifty and under eighty years of 
age, will meet on Vatican Hill in the Hall called "Nervi." 
Not in the Sistine, whose walls enclose centuries of Roman 
history, whose frescoes speak in silent tints of past genius 
and eternal faith. Not in the Sistine. In the Nervi, its 
cement poured into place not 15 years ago, its four walls 
bare, its undulating ceiling and sloping floor opening like 
a maw ready to receive thousands as though they were 
few. No frescoes. No oil canvasses speaking of God, Heav- 
en, Christ, eternity. Only embedded in one wall the eyeless 
booths for TV and radio crews. The Nervi. Just outside the 
colonnade surrounding Saint Peter's Square. It flanks — but 
does not touch — the 1400-year-old Leonine wall surround- 
ing Vatican City. It does not touch Saint Peter's. Or the 
Apostolic Palace. 

The Nervi. So Paul 6 decreed before his death. This 
sudden break with the tradition of the Sistine is no quirk 
of chance, no trick of time out of kilter. The entrance of 
these Cardinal Electors into this hall, with no roots and 
no parallel in time past, makes visible the break with his- 
tory that these Cardinals, and all the people on earth, are 
living and cannot escape. 

When some historian comes later to write an account of 
this Conclave, it will surely be called the Book of the Bet. 
But, unless he is Christian, he may not understand that 
what these men did, they did in spite of their worldly 


power and personal ambitions, and because of their trust 
in the promise of Jesus that "all Satan's force will not 
destroy my Church," and because they heard Jesus saying 
"You are Peter." In terms of worldly wisdom and practical 
politics, they bet on the impossible. In terms of their faith, 
they could do nothing else. 

When the next Pope is elected here in the Nervi, he will 
know that he will rule over a Church, once unified and 
monolithic, but now split from top to bottom and sideways 
in a zigzag fashion on issues of fundamental beliefs, reli- 
gious practice, and personal morals. The Church he will 
head finds itself already in a world totally changed from 
the world his predecessors knew. 

When the next Pope is elected here, he must know by 
then that he can no longer expect to live permanently in 
Rome. He and each of his successors will always claim to 
be the Bishop of Rome, the successor to Peter, and the 
personal Vicar of Jesus among humans. But his role will 
take on the aspect of a journey, a pilgrimage in part freely 
chosen, in part forced upon him. 

The break with the long past is already complete. And 
he will know it. 

He will dwell in places no Pope ever saw. He will take 
steps no predecessor ever contemplated. He will decide 
on issues and acute problems no Pope before him even 
dreamed of ever. For in no other way will he be able to 
be Pope. And he will end up understanding his Papal role 
in a manner so different from past Popes, and so discon- 
certing to believers, that many will cease to believe. On 
his pilgrimage, the weakest will never start with him. The 
weaker will never make it. Only the strong will go along 
with him to the end. 

Put in simple terms, it is now recognized that the 
Roman Church, its Vatican and its hierarchy throughout 
the world, has accumulated a political, diplomatic, and 
financial baggage that must be discarded: its financial 
investments, which amount to some billions of dollars; its 
wealth in real estate and concrete valuables, which provide 
collateral that rises well into the hundreds of billions; its 
tenacious and effective stance in the world of diplomacy, 
establishment politics, and corporate power, and finally — 
most poignantly, indeed — its working concept of "Church," 
Church government and authority and power over the 
salvation of all human beings. 

The Beginning 13 

Only a few times in the history of 263 Popes has such a 
moment arisen; perhaps never has so bold a choice been 
imminent. Those few Roman Popes who might have taken 
such a leap refused this choice as blindly as Simon Peter 
refused to baptize non-Jews. Each clung to the idea of 
temporal power as stubbornly as Simon Peter expected 
Jesus to establish a political kingdom in Palestine, But, 
unlike Peter who received a special message from Jesus 
to admit non-Jews to Baptism and to salvation, there was 
no special message for those Popes. 

Only today has there been another kind of message from 
Jesus to his Church: It has come in the irresistible force 
of a revolution now unmistakably visible to Vatican realists. 
On the basis of that revolution they are making new plans. 

This revolution they see already well on its way is not 
political in nature, but it will affect the politics of all 
nations. It has nothing directly to do with Marxism or 
Western democracy, except that it appears to spell the 
end of both as we have known them. The revolution, in 
Vatican thinking, has its origins on that level of life and 
value where Jesus and Satan battle and have battled for 
all the ages of man and for the soul of humanity. 

This sort of Conclave and this kind of thinking is the 
direct legacy of Paul 6. Despite his shortcomings and 
earlier failures, he finally understood the revolution; and, 
in his last days, he did his best to prepare his Church for it. 

Not everyone will agree that he came down on the right 
side. Indeed, by the end of his life Paul 6 became unac- 
ceptable to all four factions among the Cardinal Electors 
of his Church, the 118 or so men who would set the 
policies and elect the Pope after Paul's death. 

All the problems in the closing days of Paul 6 stemmed 
from these factions that make up a pretty spectacular 
array of thought and opinion from far Left to far Right. 
Neither of the two farthest extremes among these groups 
represents a majority in Church thinking. But even so, one 
extreme seriously threatens schism, while the other 
threatens revolution — even violent revolution. These fac- 
tions that faced Paul will be the factions in Conclave. 

The Progressivist faction is made up of three groups: 
Christian Marxists; the "new theologians"; and a goodly 
number of Charismatics. 

The Christian Marxists advocate a close alliance, polit- 
ical and otherwise, between Christians and Communists. 


Between them and Pope Paul 6 there burned always an 
undying enmity. 

The "new theologians" and intellectuals hold that prac- 
tically everything in the Roman Church — from Papal 
authority, male priesthood, the ban on homosexuality and 
abortion, the idea of God, the belief in Jesus' resurrection 
and divinity, down to the idea of a parish church and 
infant Baptism — all is out of date and must be revamped. 
These "new theologians" think that only with a fresh- 
minded, Progressivist Pope can the Church be saved from 
total disintegration. 

The Charismatics, going on a fresh interpretation of the 
Bible, and relying on the exercise of new gifts — called the 
gifts of the Holy Spirit — insist that only by the exercise of 
those gifts can the faith be saved. They would t therefore 
introduce Charismatic practice into every phase of church 
life. But this in itself would be a disruptive force. For a 
central persuasion of Charismatics is that the Holy Spirit 
communicates directly and personally with each one. The 
overall authority and teaching power of Bishop and Pope 
is bypassed. Charismatics, of course, claim that they repre- 
sent the spirit of the primitive and early Christian Church. 

The Traditionalist faction is at the opposite extreme 
from the Progressivists. Traditionalists protest that the 
Roman Church has been corrupted in the last twelve 
years, mainly by the Christian Marxists and the "new theo- 
logians." They denounce Paul 6 as a heretic. They insist 
on reversing all the changes effected in the Church since 
the sixties under Paul's direction. They regard Paul, at his 
worst, as a traitor and, at his best, as misguided and de- 
ceived by the wiles of Satan. There are powerful men in 
this camp and it is from this quarter that the serious threat 
of schism has menaced Paul and the Church for over a 

The Conservative faction in Rome and throughout the 
Church decries the Progressivists — whether they are Chris- 
tian Marxists or the "new theologians" — and they also 
decry the Traditionalists. The Conservatives wish to steer 
a steady course with some gradual adaptations, but with 
no profound change in the basic structure of Roman 
Catholic government and belief. The Conservatives do not 
think Paul erred in allowing change, but they think that 
Paul went too far and too fast. 

Finally, the Radical faction believes that the Roman 

The Beginning 15 

Church must take one step in one specific direction: to 
divest itself of all sociopolitical and financial interests, and 
actively to take up and use solely the weapons of spiritual 
power. The Radicals blame Paul for not taking bold, imag- 
inative steps to free the Church of all entanglements with 
political and financial interests whatever their color or 
stripe. Their being called "Radical" recalls the saying of 
a sixteenth-century Pope, Alexander 6, who should have 
known what he was talking about. "The root (radix) of 
all the trouble besetting the Throne of Peter today is our 
temporal power together with our wealth and our inter- 
national prestige." 

It is a considered judgment on the past 263 Popes to 
say that, although most of them filtered the power and 
the teaching of Jesus through the prevalent mentality of 
their times, none of them finally identified the salvation 
of Jesus with territorial sovereignty and political influence. 
Their fault has lain in allying the two. But even in the 
perfumed garden of worldly success, the tradition of Peter 
that is the legacy of every Pope has enabled them to hear 
the slightest click of barbarity sharpening its knives. And, 
when all around them has become a howling parliament 
of pain, men have usually found the chief citizen of Rome 
already standing at some as yet unopened door, his hand on 
the knob. "When, therefore, you fail," Jesus said to Peter, 
"you will be able to repent your error, and you will give all 
associated with you fresh ground for continuing belief." 

So it has been with Paul 6. And he communicated his 
judgment and feeling for the future to the principal Car- 
dinal Electors who gather behind the locked doors of 
Conclave 82 — a Conclave that would be like none before it. 
For the Electors themselves, as for us who picture them 
in Conclave, there is required a special effort. To under- 
stand in belief. To believe with understanding. Jesus will not 
reveal his ultimate purposes, not even the details of our 
near-future history to these Electors. He did not reveal 
the near-future to Simon Peter and his companions near 
Hermon. Yet we, as children of a much later generation 
than Peter, know something more than he did at Hermon. 
We know, for instance, that Jesus saw far beyond Pales- 
tine, beyond Judaism, beyond Imperial Rome, and beyond 
what we see even now, when he said: "You are Peter." 

We realize that now. Even so, today it takes humility 
and faith for Electors and for the rest of us to see, as 


Jesus does, far beyond even the extremes of the vast 
mixtum-gatherum of Catholicism and Christianity: beyond 
Greek monks on Mount Athos; Benedictine monks in 
England; Mexicans on their knees before our Lady of 
Guadalupe; Polish Blessed Bread; Australian aborigines 
singing Mass; Irish shamrocks; Arab golden domes; beyond 
Eskimos scratching the Ave Maria on whalebones and 
Chinese gongs sounding the Angelus; beyond German Ad- 
vent wreaths; African tomtoms tolling a Requiem; Russian 
ikons in Mrs. Gromyko's luggage; Scandinavian girls wear- 
ing Saint Lucy's crown; Japanese Zen-like Catholic chapels; 
Maltese Crusader Crosses; Dutch. Girl Guides catechizing 
Amsterdam prostitutes; California nuns cleaning lepers in 
Seoul; Cardinals signing checks in Rome for the gnomes 
in Zurich; nuns dying as guerrillas in Guatemala; and, 
beyond, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Adventists, 
Methodists, and the thousand and one other Christian sects. 
It takes humility and faith to see beyond all this delirium 
and chaos — and to move beyond all this, even as Jesus 
contains it all in his memory and transcends it all. 

For these Electors, it is the evening of the Conclave, as 
indeed it is a certain evening for the institutional Church 
of Conclave, for Rome and its Vatican. The sunlight of 
human glory and power that lit its former days has ceased. 
Great frescoes do not look down on this Conclave from 
Sistine walls and ceiling. Many of the ancient songs are, 
like the Latin it once imposed on all, muted and no longer 
heard. In our modern world, there is a feeling of disquiet, 
of life narrowing down, of grace being eroded from every 
day's hours, of charm disappearing, of sensations being 
bleached in the glare of modernity with modernity's shame- 
lessness. All Christians experience this today. But through- 
out the Church of Jesus there is audible the voice of 
Jesus' salvation speaking of his love for all human things 
and his irrevocable decision and promise that nothing would 
undo that salvation or quench that love. 

With the authority of Jesus, these Cardinals will choose 
one of their own number as the 264th successor of Simon 
Peter. And, as at Simon Peter's appointment near Hermon, 
the same principals will be present: Jesus repeating: 
"You are Peter"; the Prince, watchful always, bent on 
making the Cardinals and their particular choice of Pope 
"a mere plaything and an instrument." 

The battle goes on. 




The men and women of the twenty-first century will be 
fascinated by the figure of Giovanni Battista Montini who 
became Pope Paul 6 in June of 1963. Our faces are flat- 
tened against the glass and we see but darkly. They will 
be at a sufficient distance to judge what he has done. 

They will look back to see what sort of men were his 
intimates, his trusted helpers; what his driving motives 
were; whether his theology was as wise as his piety was 
genuine; whether he played secular power-politics using 
the authority of Jesus; whether he compromised fatally 
with those he considered lesser enemies of his faith in 
order to outwit those he thought greater ones; whether he 
allowed personal friendship for a few to interfere with 
his judgment on life-and-death issues that involved be- 
lieving millions. 

They will see, as we cannot, whether Pope Paul's vision 
of the twenty-first century was correct — so brilliantly cor- 
rect that they, our descendants, will marvel at his fore- 
sight — or so dismally incorrect that his name and his 
Pontificate and his ideas will be hated and cast in infamy. 
It will be either one or the other. Because it was Montini, 
with two or three other individual men of our age, whose 
stubborn will swung his 715-million member Roman 
Church around officially to face in a direction the vast 
majority did not want and did not understand. 

For our descendants he may well be seen as an innova- 
tor as gigantic as Peter the Great of Russia or Mao Tse- 
tung of China. They may say of him: He saw over every- 
body's head, he saw beyond their limited horizons, and he 
was a great among the pygmies. And he may be the fourth 
Pope in history to be dubbed "great." Paul the Great, like 



Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, and Nicholas the 

Those twenty-first-century people, not we, will under- 
stand the double role we have seen Pope Paul playing. 
They will see him as the last of the old-time Popes firmly 
rooted in the 1800-year-old Papal tradition, as querulously 
imperative and as insistently monarchic as any Pope who 
came before him. And they will see him as the first of 
the Pilgrim Popes, men who acted as if their Church had 
been exiled from human society and they wished to do 
the ancient penance of pilgrimage — in the name of all 
Christians — in order that once more Jesus, his Vicar and 
his salvation, be accepted within the human regime. 

Paul was never really welcomed by the Romans, by that 
Vatican bureaucracy that an irritated Pope Pius 12 once 
described as "like the Bourbons who learned little and 
forgot nothing." Paul was a northern Italian who had 
made his name as a churchman in Milan for nine years. 
As far as the Romans were concerned, the man born and 
baptized in northern Concessio as Giovanni Battista Enri- 
co Antonio Maria Montini could just as well have re- 
mained up north with the other barbarians where Pope 
Pius 12 had exiled him from the Vatican. 

But Montini returned as Pope Paul on June 21, 1963, 
and he brought with him a whole train of northerners; 
architects, financiers, clerics of various callings, publishers, 
designers, art people, and the hangers-on whom every suc- 
cessful Cardinal acquires. The "Milan Mafia" according 
to Roman clerics, adulterated the exclusively Roman char- 
acter of the Vatican which Pacelli (Pius 12) fomented 
during the almost 20 years of his reign. 

During the Milan years and then in Rome, outsiders 
remarked on the reverence, almost awe, in which members 
of the "Milan Mafia" held Montini. There had always been 
a special camaraderie among them and the hostility they 
met in Rome only united them more. 

A notable fact about Paul's Papal court and the Vatican 
administration in his time is that it shared the "horizontal" 
character of most modern governments. The personnel 
was mediocre. No giants jutted up above the level of the 
general mass. 

Yet Montini had around him men as colorful and as 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 21 

clever as any Pope in history. Secretary Don Pasquale 
Macchi, not always wise in his choice of friends, but 
loyal to Paul throughout; the Stakhanovite Benelli, brusque 
in his faith, avid in his zeal for supernatural immaterial- 
ism; the hard-smoking Cardinal Villot who had developed 
a bureaucratic competence through a lifetime of petty 
bargaining; the stolid, retiring Willebrands, man of peace, 
perpetually surprised by his own success, afraid to move 
in any direction, and who, as the Romans joked, got 
anxious only about German Lutheran reaction to anything 
Roman — even a breakdown in Vatican plumbing; the 
quick-witted, sure-footed Cardinal Vagnozzi whom Paul 
always felt had "said 'Good Morning!* to the Devil and 
got away with it'*; veteran Cardinal Ottaviani, gnomic as 
though conserving energy, hoarding old truths, always 
warning Paul of dangers; Cardinal Wright, of torrential 
egocentrism, ubiquitous, gourmand, eloquent, who in the 
hope of inheriting the earth had declared himself meek, 
but who eventually rose to heights of faith his contempo- 
raries never thought possible in him; Archbishop Casaroli, 
Paul's traveling salesman of Vatican Ostpolitik, the man 
of the future who knew everyone's secrets. 

The key to the character of the Papacy of Paul 6 lies 
in Paul's reaction to, and his decision about, the vision 
Pope John 23 had of the Church. In the minds and accord- 
ing to the policy of the Cardinal Electors who made 
Giovanni Battista Montini Pope in Conclave 81 in June 
1963, Montini was supposed to implement that vision. 

The newness and peculiarity of John's vision lay in its 
superiority to anything we find before him in the Popes. 
In fact, in one sense , no Pope ever had John's vision. 

John's immediate predecessor, Pius 12, came nearest to 
it. After his earlier mistakes and fantasies about Romani- 
td — the power of Rome as the center of the Church — 
and about the continuing power of the ancient Roman 
Catholic "heartland" in southern Europe, Pius 12 did come 
to a vision of the chessboard of history. He finally tran- 
scended petty details of geography and local histories, so 
that his gaze locked into the basic struggle between Jesus 
and Satan. But he too readily identified the enemy as 
Marxism. Thus far, Pius's vision. And at that point, he 

Angelo Roncalli, as John 23, did not suffer from that 
narrow focus. Opposed as fiercely as Pius 12 ever had 


been to Marxism, Roncalli's focus was wider. Although he 
did believe in the Satanic origin of Marxism, John did not 
accept Pius's view that implied that an outside and oppos- 
ing force — Marxism — was trying to change society, and 
Jesus' Church. John's main contribution was his simple 
intuition that a change had taken place already, and that 
only the surface of previous things remained, like shells of 
buildings ready to collapse. John saw that the world of 
Pius 12, of Pius 9, of Clement 7, of all past Popes was 
dead and gone. The struggle against Marxism John classi- 
fied as one minor skirmish, soon to be over, in a much 
more profound and cosmic struggle. 

The essence of the change John saw was this: All the 
social, political, ideological, ethnic, and intellectual bound- 
aries that had divided human beings for centuries had lost 
their validity. No one could explain it, but it was certain 
that gone from the human scene was some root persuasion, 
some deep conviction. Because of that conviction, men had 
preserved those boundaries up to John 23's very moment 
in history. But now a new unheard-of and frightening 
human unity was emerging. And all the old boundaries, 
all the things men and women had understood and lived 
by, were disappearing. 

For John, as for Pius 12 and Paul 6, the essence of the 
cosmic struggle lay in the plans and counterplans of two 
personages: Jesus and Satan. It was a deadly game played 
on the chessboard of the human universe. The chessboard 
was cosmic. The issues were cosmic. The players were 

The intuition of John told him that in the wake of the 
vast change that had taken place, religion in general and 
Christianity in particular were in danger of being bypassed; 
that Satan had made his move to nullify all that God had 
accomplished. And, in fact, it was plain to see that Chris- 
tianity was being bypassed, that it was increasingly isolated 
and cut off from the political, civil, intellectual, and cul- 
tural life of men and women. 

As his intuition was simple, so was John's practical solu- 
tion: open windows and doors; knock down barriers; let 
the spirit, already here, fly out across the face of humanity. 
Hence, his Council — Vatican Council II. Hence his pater- 
nal and loving attitude. And hence the spontaneous and 
universal feeling that this 77-year-old Roman Pope, John, 
created within a span of only three years and six months: 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 23 

a feeling that no good was impossible any more, and that 
no evil could not be overcome; a feeling that, somehow and 
unexpectedly, grace had been poured out, that all hate 
could be melted by that grace, and that the best of things 
could be hoped for. "All has been changed," John told his 
generation. "Come to our Council and celebrate and make 
plans together with us." And then John died. 

When Paul 6 stepped into the Pope's sandals, he trans- 
lated John's cosmic vision of change, and developed his own 
new policies, according to his own abilities and his own 

As far back as the 1930s Giovanni Montini as a young 
ecclesiastic had been profoundly influenced by a single at- 
titude that would, thirty years later, go a long way toward 
making him a Pope unlike any Pope before him. It was an 
attitude first made popular and then repudiated by a 
French philosopher of great popular appeal, Jacques Mari- 
tain. Montini, in fact, willingly wrote an introduction for 
the Italian edition of Maritain's Integral Humanism. 

"Be a witness by service," runs the idea, "but do not 
think that any other initiative is possible, practical or called 
for." In practical terms, what integral humanism has to say 
is that all men and women are naturally good; they will 
respond to the good and reject the evil if they are shown 
the difference. The function of Jesus' Church at this stage 
in human history is merely to bear witness to that differ- 
ence, not to make superhuman efforts at Catholicizing 
politics, economics, literature, science, education, social 
life, or any of the other aspects of human society. Only to 
witness by service to men and women — without any dis- 
tinction of creed or race — this is the task of the Church in 
today's world where a new unity among human beings has 
emerged; a world which of itself excludes Christianity and 
the central authority of the Pope as the Vicar of Jesus and 
the center of world unity. 

So, in Paul's view, the Papacy and the Church had to 
set out once more to attract men and women to the faith, 
but in a different way. They had to break out of their isola- 
tion; an isolation that was, in large part, owing to their 
own deficiencies. There must be a new effort to find men 
and women again, to be with them and become acceptable 
to them. 

When Paul spoke of himself as a pilgrim and of his 
Papal reign as a pilgrimage, he was referring to this effort. 


He saw it as part penance for the failures of past Church- 
men, and part search for those human beings who did not 
yet know Jesus, Jesus' Church, and Jesus 1 salvation. 

This integral humanism of Paul 6 permeated the entire 
policy of his Pontificate. How far Paul has been able to 
direct his Church on to that pilgrim path remains for a 
subsequent generation to judge. In the meanwhile, we can 
take our own measure of his success by examining how 
Paul acted on three occasions of capital importance that 
intimately concerned Church diplomacy, Church finance, 
and Church belief. 

October 4, 1965. 

Paul's Alitalia Flight #2800 touched down at Kennedy 
International Airport carrying Pope Paul 6, seven Car- 
dinals, ten Vatican aides, sixty newsmen, commentators, 
light and sound technicians, and 200,000 covers bearing 
new Vatican commemorative stamps. 

Paul motorcaded at about 12 m.p.h. in a black, bubble- 
topped, flag-flying, fluorescent-lighted, leather-upholstered, 
seven-passenger, 1964 Lincoln convertible. He was watched 
by a hundred TV cameras and more than two million New 
Yorkers who lined the 24-mile route to Saint Patrick's 
Cathedral in Manhattan. 

The way was guarded, prepared, and facilitated by 
15,000 New York City policemen, the Fire Department, 
the Pickpocket and Confidence Squad, plain clothes detec- 
tives, 5,000 barricades, 40 bullhorns, 27 tow-trucks, 13 
ambulances, 1 bomb truck, 2 motor-launches on the East 
River and 2 helicopters overhead. 

He spoke to 1 1 Cardinals, to Archbishops and Bishops, 
and 4,000 people in the Cathedral. He met and talked with 
President Johnson and, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, had 
Mrs. Johnson and teen-age daughter Luci presented to him, 
lunched with Cardinal Spellman and his associates, and 
conferred with a score of visitors, officials, and well- 

Finally, Pope Paul proceeded to the United Nations. 
That was the reason for his pilgrimage. "It offers the oc- 
casion to further the cause of peace, so close to Our heart, 
and at the same time to promote a greater understanding 
among the nations of the world," Paul had written to U 
Thant on March 1, 1965. "It would," U Thant replied to 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 25 

Paul on April 16, 1965, "give a new and vigorous impetus 
to endeavors of men of good will everywhere to safeguard 
and strengthen world peace . . . bringing humanity closer 
to the fulfillment of its legitimate aspirations." 

U Thant greeted Paul at 3:13 in the afternoon that day 
in October 1965. He led Paul first to the Meditation Room: 
a windowless, unfurnished, trapezoidal chamber, 3,0 by 18 
feet, its symmetrical walls blank but for a fresco by Swed- 
ish artist Bo Beskow, depicting geometric patterns in blue, 
yellow, gray, brown, white. In the center of the room, a 
waist-high solid block of stone and iron ore. The only 
illumination, a shaft of dim, yellow light striking the shim- 
mering surface of rock. 

Then U Thant led Paul to the General Assembly for its 
1,374th meeting. 

A color photograph of the General Assembly was taken 
during Paul's address at 3:45 p.m.: The Assembly Hall is 
a sloping whirlpool of 11 ordered eddies arrested for one 
still photographic instant in inevitable movement down- 
ward to the place where Paul, white-clad Priest, stands. 
The weight of the Hall bears down on his diminutive figure 
as on a fulcrum. Three thousand listeners, necks craned, 
are watching him. There is no apparent movement except 
Paul's head and shoulders. It is a moment of electric at- 
tention, a vigil of nations. 

"We have a message to deliver to each one of you." 

Paul has the ears of the world. His message has willing 
translators into over 35 languages, is heard — even seen — 
literally all over our planet. One almost expected to hear 
Paul address the human race: "Children of men! Nations 
of the Earth! Peoples of every land! This is now the way 
of your salvation. . . ." In this almost universal attention 
Paul could have stated blandly without unduly surprising 
anyone: "On the 29th of June, Feast of the Apostles Peter 
and Paul, the Lord Jesus Christ told Us personally that this 
is what men must do to solve their problems . . ."; or, "We 
propose to solve the continuing deadlock of East and West, 
of haves and have-nots, of black and white, in the follow- 
ing manner . . ."; or, "We men can now arrest the lethal 
arms race, reconcile Arabs and Jews, bring China to reason 
with the family of nations, dispel the clouds of nuclear 
holocaust, feed, educate, and console the world's billions 
by . . ." 

But there was none of all this. Paul as Pope, as Apostle, 


had no alternatives to offer. He did not preach or announce 
the Gospel message as Peter and Paul had done 1900 years 
before to Roman, Greek, and Semite. Christ either cruci- 
fied or resurrected was not the burden of his words. 

Paul said, "We wish Our message to be a moral and 
solemn ratification of this high institution ... as an expert 
in humanity We bring to this organization the voices of 
Our late predecessors, those of the whole Catholic episco- 
pate, and Our Own, convinced as We are that this Organi- 
zation represents the obligatory road of modern civilization 
and of world peace." 

The motionless silence of a few seconds ago is ended. 
The magic moment is over. Now, the rest of Paul's words 
will be, all feel, a benign testimony endorsing their exis- 
tence, acknowledging their difficulties. 

All the principal participants and protagonists of mutual 
hate and predictable wars are sitting in semicircular rows 
before Paul. Webs of intrigue and opposition and self- 
interest clothe them as surely as do their dark suits and 
national costumes. 

To them Paul says, "You give sanction to the great 
principle that relations between the peoples should be 
regulated by reason, by justice, by negotiation; not by 
force, fear, or fraud." 

In the coming year of 1966 alone, for causes foreseen 
and excluded by the United Nations Charter, there will be 
suppression of human liberties in Haiti (2nd row) and 
South Africa (6th row); civil and guerrilla warfare and 
strife in both Congos (10th row), India (2nd row), the 
Dominican Republic (11th row), Guatemala (1st row), 
and Indonesia (2nd row) . Blacks will riot in 43 American 
cities protesting discrimination. Refugees from war and 
oppression will be many: 12,000 Cubans in Spain and 
200,000 in the United States; 15,000 refugees from Portu- 
guese Guinea in Senegal; 700,000 in Western Europe from 
the Iron Curtain countries; 50,000 Tibetans in Nepal and 
India; 1,100,000 Chinese from the Communist Mainland 
in Hong Kong and 80,000 in Macao; 800,000 Arab ref- 
ugees in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan; 12,000 South 
Vietnamese in Cambodia; 575,000 Africans displaced by 
civil wars and rebellions. By September 1966, 300,000 will 
have been killed in the Indonesian civil war. By December, 
6,644 Americans alone will have died in the Vietnam War. 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 27 

Yet Paul says, "there is no need of long speeches to pro- 
claim the finality of this institution" 

Before Paul sit the representatives of nations that will 
bring the accumulation of armaments, with a view to 
future violence and death, to new levels. In fiscal 1966, 
the United Kingdom (7th row) will have a defense budget 
of $6,081 billion; France (1st row) $4,465 billion; Japan 
(3rd row) $946 million; U.S.S.R. (7th row) $14,208 bil- 
lion; U.S.A. (8th row) $57,718 billion. Both the latter 
will supply Arab nations and Israel with the material that 
would make possible the War of June 1967. Pakistan (5th 
row) will accept arms from Communist China to fight 

Paul continues, "Suffice it to recall that the blood of 
millions of men, that countless and unheard-of sufferings, 
that useless massacres and fearful ruins have sealed the 
pact uniting you, with a vow which must change the future 
history of the world: Never again War! War, never again!" 

After his address, Paul stood at the head of a 300-man 
receiving line in the north end of the delegates' lounge 
facing a huge chocolate-colored map of the world. All 
walked up to him willingly, greeted him pleasantly, some 
reverently: the Great Powers; Nationalist China; Soviet 
allies and satellites; the uncommitted Third World. For all 
of them, Paul had a word. Observers noted the extra mo- 
ment he spent with Gromyko; the reverence of Mrs. 
Gromyko; Paul's affectionate, two-handed clasp for Arthur 
Goldberg; the Africans and Asians who kissed Paul's ring; 
his gentleness with Jacqueline Kennedy. 

Finally, Paul gave a last glance at the assembled guests. 
More non-Europeans than Europeans. More non-Chris- 
tians than Christians. That was the lesson in his memory. 

When the plane carrying Paul with his entourage and 
his gifts and 52 reporters arched through the sky over 
Manhattan and the United Nations, Paul was barely over 
two years into his reign. Yet at the heart of the lesson he 
had learned was the eerie intuition of the finality of the 
new condition of his Church that Popes had resisted for a 
thousand years. Paul would speak about the intuition to 
many in the years to come. 

A new mentality of humankind was in the making, as 
yet barely appearing in the motley United Nations crowd. 
And the sooner the Church prepared to divest itself of all 


it had acquired by way of regionalism, nationalism, and 
culture, the more ready and adapted it would be to sur- 
vive, to flourish, and finally to prevail among humans as 
the unique portal of divine revelation. 

But to the casual observer the fundamental message of 
Paul's visit was not very grand: "We the Church, are on 
the sidelines," his visit seemed to say. "As an organization 
we know we have no say in your business. We want to 
remind you, however, that we are here." 

This was the first concrete and hard-headed expression 
of Paul's integral humanism. 

Spring 1969. 

It is late at night in the Papal study on the third floor of 
the Apostolic Palace. No more secluded and secure and 
private time and place has been found by any previous 
Popes for ultra -secret meetings. 

The meeting concerned Vatican finances. Such meetings 
have been part of Papal business for over a thousand years. 

Pope Paul is alone with the financier, Michele Sindona. 
Popes, more often than not, have preferred to conduct 
such high-level affairs alone. 

There is no official entry about the meeting in Paul's 
appointment book, and there never was. In each week of 
each year in the history of Popes, just as in the history of 
premiers, presidents, kings, and corporation heads, we 
know there have been such "nonmeetings." 

Paul comes to an agreement, affixing his signature as 
Pope to a contractual, bilateral document. Vatican archives 
are full of such documents. 

In virtue of that signature, Paul binds and obliges a 
goodly part of Vatican finance and Papal monies. Popes 
have always — and rightly — considered themselves the solely 
responsible stewards of what has always been called in 
Rome "the patrimony of Peter." 

The scene is unique only in one respect. By his signature, 
Pope Paul authorized the financier to sell the Vatican's 
controlling interest ($350 million) in the huge conglomer- 
ate, Societa Generate Immobiliare. By that signature Paul 
also allowed Sindona access to other Vatican funds for 
further investment. 

The money centers of Europe and the United States will 
be filled for years with half-finished stories, garbled ac- 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 29 

counts, wild reports, and incomplete versions of what 
turned out to be a financial loss of apparently huge propor- 
tions for the Vatican. // crack Sindona — the Sindona catas- 
trophe — is not a simple affair. That the signing took place 
in those circumstances between Pope Paul and Michele 
Sindona is now an admitted fact. Initially, the Vatican 
denied it, stating that the signing was between Sindona and 
Cardinal Guerri, a senior Vatican member. 

Paul's memories of Sindona reached back well before the 
spring of 1969 to his own first few years as Archbishop of 
Milan. His preoccupation with Vatican financial admin- 
istration and general policies went back even further. 

As pro-Secretary of Vatican State for Pius 12, Montini 
had already agitated for reform in Vatican financial admin- 
istration. He knew firsthand the abuses and the abusers. 
In 1954, he drew up a report citing the names and activ- 
ities of Pius 12's own nephews (Carlo, Giulio, Marcanto- 
nio Pacelli) whom Pius had put at the head of Vatican 
finances. Pius's reaction to the report was violent and swift. 
Montini found himself on a train for Milan, for exile, and 
for disfavor. One of Paul's bitterest memories on that long, 
one-way train journey was of a day shortly after the end 
of World War II when he had listened to Pacelli speaking 
from the public balcony of Saint Peter's in Rome, denounc- 
ing a certain Dalmatian priest, Ernesto Cippico, as having 
"brought scandal in the Church." Cippico had embezzled 
some thousands of dollars from the funds of Eastern Euro- 
pean refugee groups. Even as he listened to those words, 
Montini had known that over on the Quirinal, out in the 
magnificent country villas, and within the Vatican behind 
Pacelli's back, there were men and women who dealt 
every day in millions of Church dollars — the "patrimony 
of Peter" — buying war, selling peace down the river, cyn- 
ically, scandalously. Cippico lacked only protectors in high 
places. Montini could almost see a Satanic rictus behind 
the whole affair. 

Later, as Pope, one of Paul's first major pronounce- 
ments, in 1967, was Populorum Progressio in which he at- 
tacked laissez-faire capitalism and castigated the "interna- 
tional imperialism of money" whereby in the end "the poor 
always remain poor and the rich become ever richer." The 
Vatican, as an international trading partner, was included 
in his attack. In his heart, Paul wished to take radical 
action, to give back to those poor what was theirs. When 


"we do help the poor," he stated (quoting St. Ambrose), 
"we never give to the poor what is ours; we merely return 
to them what belongs to them." Paul's Papacy lost many 
friends in high places in the Vatican, in Europe, and in 
the Americas, when Populorum was published. 

By the time of that publication, nevertheless, Paul had 
decided on the broad lines of a reform in Vatican finances 
and on an ultimate goal: divesting the Church of its finan- 
cial clout, thereby expelling that element of the "Prince 
of this world." 

In the late sixties, according to the most reliable re- 
ports, the annual budget of the Vatican lay between $25 
and $40 million. Its investments ran to more than $4.8 bil- 
lion. Managing these huge investment sums were two main 
financial administration departments. 

The first, the Institute for Religious Works (IRW), at 
that time under the direction of venerable Cardinal di 
Jorio, had been set up during World War I. It paid the 
salaries of the Vatican bureaucracy and held Vatican ac- 
counts and investments for other Catholic institutions, for 
about 1,000 Vatican citizens, and for "a few limited and 
chosen friends (Italian and non-Italian) of the Church," 
as one official states. Its assets were estimated conservative- 
ly to be upward of $3 billion. Paul found, however, that 
no balance sheet was ever produced. The IRW moved huge 
sums around the world money markets, operating free 
of any national exchange control regulations. It had even 
transferred monies back and forth between the belligerents 
during World War II. Obviously the IRW had built up 
considerable foreign exchange dealings and confidence. 
Whenever Paul needed money to cover Vatican expenses, 
di Jorio simply drew it from Paul's account (#16/16). 

The Special Administration of Holy See Property (SA) 
dated from 1929, the year Mussolini's government paid 
$2.4 million in reparation for the Italian Papal states seized 
by the Italian Republic in 1870. It was run by some com- 
petent lay bankers (with cleric assistants by their sides), 
and was advised by J. P. Morgan of New York, Hambros 
Bros, of London, and Rothschilds of Paris. 

By the late sixties, monies from both IRW and SA were 
invested in every sector of Italian industry and commerce. 
On the boards of directors of companies in which the Vati- 
can had an interest, there always sat a Vatican "family" 
man, somebody like Massimo Spada or Luigi Mennini. 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 3 1 

One business venture in which the Vatican developed a 
controlling interest was the giant, multinational Societa 
Generale Immobiliare (SGI). Its president was Count Gal- 
leazzi, former governor of Vatican City and relative of 
Pacelli's personal doctor, and four of its key Board mem- 
bers were Vatican "family" men. SGI was highly diversi- 
fied, holding property such as office buildings, construction 
companies, real estate, residential areas, etc., on both sides 
of the Atlantic — the Rome Hilton, the Pan Am building 
on the Champs Elysees in Paris, the Watergate complex in 
Washington, D.C, and the Stock Exchange in Montreal, 
Canada, figured among the real property. 

Paul, persuaded that Europe was heading for a total 
eclipse of its autonomy, decided that it was time for a 
change. Apart from geopolitical considerations, there were 
other reasons: he was advised of a coming recession and 
inflation period; the running expenses of the Vatican had 
increased enormously since the Vatican council, mainly be- 
cause of new Secretariats and Commissions with large ex- 
pense accounts; some Vatican-controlled companies were 
losing heavily (the flour and pasta company, Pantanella, 
lost $2.5 million and required refinancing of $4.8 million); 
the Vatican work force had risen by one-third since 1963 
and had tripled since 1948; Vatican pensioners ran to about 
1,000. And to cap this picture, the Vatican was engaged in 
a losing battle with Italian fiscal authorities over the Vati- 
can's claim to be tax exempt for its 1962 dividends by 
virtue of the 1929 Concordat with the government. 

As in the situation when Paul visited the United Nations, 
the reasons for action were there. 

Paul's first overt move in the major financial areas of the 
Vatican was to establish a new administrative arm in 1968. 
The Prefecture of Economic Affairs, PEC A as it is known, 
was set up to coordinate investment policies, check on ex- 
penditures, and prepare the hitherto unheard-of Vatican 
balance sheet. And, sure enough, by the seventies, PECA 
produced budget estimates and a consolidated balance 

For a short time PECA was governed by Cardinal 
Angelo DeU*Acqua. Then Paul confided PECA to the care 
of a career diplomat, the 62-year-old Cardinal Egidio 
Vagnozzi, back from nine years as Vatican representative 
in Washington. Vagnozzi was an arch-conservative and ally 
of such powerful old-time hands as Cardinals Ottaviani 


and SIri. Assisting Vagnozzi were Cardinals Cody of Chi- 
cago and Martin Hoffner of Cologne, Germany. 

Paul also installed a new head of the IRW, Father Paul 
Marcinkus, a priest of the Chicago archdiocese. A native 
of Cicero, Illinois, born of a second generation Lithuanian 
family, ordained in 1947, postgraduate student in Rome's 
North American College, subsequent member of the En- 
glish language section of the Vatican's Secretariat of State, 
six-foot-three (the Italians nicknamed him il gorilla), and 
very personable, Marcinkus became a friend of Macchi, 
Paul's secretary. He accompanied Paul on his trips around 
the world. Marcinkus became a bishop with basic salary of 
$6,400 as head of IRW. 

The first aim of Paul and his advisors was to extinguish 
the Vatican's system of controlling interests in Italian 
companies, to pull out of Italian money markets, and to 
go "foreign" into the promising world of Eurodollar blue 
chips and offshore profits. 

Among all the men available to make such a vast shift 
of such vast sums, no one seemed so suitable and so 
adapted as a man already known to Paul: Michele Sindona. 

Michele Sindona had, indeed, made himself adaptable 
for such a major job. Ever since he had bought a truck 
and with it had begun a lucrative trading business with the 
United States armed forces in wartime Sicily, he had spent 
a little over 20 years preparing for that triumphal, nocturnal 
signing. Born in 1917, in the town of Patti near Messina, 
Sicily, educated by the Jesuits, successful law student at 
Messina University, Sindona left Sicily in 1947 carrying 
with him glowing recommendations from the Bishop of 
Messina (who only knew Sindona's generous donations to 
the Church) for the archdiocesan authorities in Milan. 
There he opened an office specializing in tax consultancy 
in relation to the dollar market. 

By 1959, Sindona was well on his way, with signal suc- 
cesses already behind him. To date he had acquired the 
Banca Privata Finanziaria (BPF) and a steel foundry 
(which he sold to the American Crucible Company); he 
had established a holding company, Fasco AG, in the tax- 
haven of Liechtenstein; through Fasco he had obtained 
controlling share in Finabank Geneva; he had founded a 
foreign exchange brokerage, Moneyrex, headed by Carlo 
Bordoni; had knit close relationships with Luigi Mennini, 
top official in the Vatican's IRW, with Massimo Spada, 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 33 

Vatican "family" man (who became a director of Sindona's 
BPF), and with Don Pasquale Macchi, Archbishop Mon- 
tini's personal secretary and confidant. 

By the time he came to Montini's close attention, Sin- 
dona was already legal counsellor to the textile group, 
SNIA-Viscoa (Spada was one of its directors), president 
of Keyes Italiana, Mediterranean Holidays, Philips Carbon 
Black Italiana, managing director of Cheseborough-Ponds, 
and board member of Remington Rand Italiana. 

What cemented Montini's esteem of Sindona as early as 
1959, was the $2.4 million Sindona raised for Montini 
from Milanese business circles in order to finance an Old 
People's Home (the Casa Madonnina). 

In 1968, the Vatican lost its 6-year battle with the Italian 
fiscal authorities and it was penalized. The time had come 
to take the jump. And Sindona was ready to help the Vati- 
can jump. 

Within those seconds toward midnight in the spring of 
1969, when Sindona, and then Paul, bent over and signed 
their names to the agreement, Sindona was given control 
over vast foreign exchange resources. In all foreign money 
markets he now carried the Vatican imprimatur on all his 

As Sindona bowed to kiss Paul's ring and depart into 
the dark Roman morning with as much financial power as 
many a nation on earth, for one moment Paul saw him, as 
it were, transfigured — his dark suit, black tie, white shirt, 
urbane manner, smiling deference, obvious satisfaction — 
all the details seemed to mirror another power alien to the 
power Paul wielded because of that Fisherman's Ring 
Sindona had just kissed with so much ease. It was not so 
much that Sindona reportedly belonged to the Freemasons. 
It was, rather, that Paul felt Sindona was an instrument in 
the hands of unknown powers. From then until 1977, the 
impression was to grow as news filtered back to Paul. 

Sindona quickly moved on several fronts. He transferred 
$40 million to the Luxembourg Bank, Paribas Transcon- 
tinental (subsidiary of Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas); 
$15 million of this was acquired by California-based Gulf 
and Western (Paul shuddered a little when he learned that 
Gulf and Western owned Paramount Pictures Corporation) 
whose 44-year-old president, Charles Bludhorn joined the 
board of SGI. Under Marcinkus, the IRW took a large 
block of shares of Sindona's Finabank. The Vatican re- 


tained 5 percent control over SGI, but it proceeded to 
divest itself of Italian companies like the Condotte d'Acqua 
(in 1969), Pantanella (in 1970), and Serono (in 1970; a 
maker of contraceptive pills). It also diversified into foreign 
companies: General Motors, General Electric, Shell, Gulf, 
IBM, and some airlines. 

Sindona became president of seven Italian companies, 
vice-president in three banks, and bought a controlling 
block of shares in the Vatican-linked Banca Union (BU), 
thereby at least tripling his Roman banking operation. He 
was later to fuse his old BFP and the BU into Banca Pri- 
vata Italiana (BPI). Through Sindona's maneuvering of 
funds, the Vatican acquired a participation in BPI (20 
percent), thus enabling Sindona to forge links with Ham- 
bros (25 percent) and the Continental Bank of Illinois (15 
percent) . Continental's chairman, David Kennedy, who was 
Secretary of the United States Treasury under President 
Nixon, later became a board member of Sindona's Fasco 

Everyone was surprised when, in 1972, Sindona suddenly 
transferred himself and his family to the United States 
where he had taken a cooperative apartment at the Pierre 
Hotel in New York in the name of his wife, Katerina, He 
bought controlling interests in the 20th largest United 
States bank, the Franklin National. He offered $1 million 
as an anonymous election contribution for the reelection 
of President Nixon, but Maurice Stans refused it. 

Barely one year later, the first crack in Sindona's em- 
pire became apparent to all. The American Securities and 
Exchange Commission (SEC) halted all trading on Vetco 
Offshore Trading Industries when it found out that Irving 
Eisenberger, a Los Angeles investment counsellor, had ac- 
quired 25 percent of outstanding shares in Vetco (in viola- 
tion of Federal Security regulations). It also came to light 
that 20 percent of Vetco's shares and options were acquired 
by Eisenberger on behalf of the IRW through the Liechten- 
stein-based Fiduciary Investment Services (FIS) which had 
an office in Sindona's Roman office complex. The IRW 
had many shares and options in FIS. In mid-March 1973, 
IRW had acquired 454,000 Vetco shares which were part 
of 714,000 Vetco shares sold by FIS, the largest block ever 
traded on the American Stock Exchange. 

The Vatican paid $320,000 in penalty compensation for 
that illegal transaction, and the Italian authorities started 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 35 

a long inquiry into Sindona's dealings. Another crack in 
Sindona's empire. 

When Villot informed Paul of the inquiry, and he 
learned from Vagnozzi about the penalty, Paul's Papal 
memory stirred with the age-old unease: Had he left the 
Church defenseless? Had he involved the Church more 
than ever with the power of this world? 

In 1973, and for two agonizing years, Villot and other 
officials brought Paul news of disaster after disaster in the 
Sindona affair. Sindona's BPI sustained foreign exchange 
losses of $48 million in 1973, and another $150 million in 
1974. Then it was discovered that the Franklin National 
Bank had a minimal $43 million in losses hidden as "phony 
profits" in foreign exchange dealings with Sindona-con- 
trolled Swiss banks. 

Other Sindona-controlled or Sindona-linked banks 
started to collapse — Wolff, Herz, Herstatt, Aminot — with 
consequent Vatican losses. By October 1974, Italian author- 
ities were ready to move against Sindona, Spada, Men- 
nini, and other unnamed persons involved in the crack. 
The charge: falsification of BU accounts in 1960. The pos- 
sible penalty: 15-year jail terms for each of them. 

On January 9, 1975, Swiss authorities closed Sindona's 
Finabank. It had sustained foreign exchange losses of at 
least $82 million. Sindona made a last fruitless attempt to 
raise capital (about $300 million) by offering for sale new 
capital shares in a small holding company, Finambro. But 
Guido Carli, Governor of the Bank of Italy, scotched that 

Vatican losses were huge. In January 1975, Spada de- 
clared that the Vatican had by then lost 10 percent of its 
total worth. Swiss banking sources speak of something in 
the region of $240 million. Despite Vagnozzi's public state- 
ments in April 1975 that Vatican investments in the affair 
amounted to $500 million (he did confirm a heavy Vatican 
shift of investments from Italy to the United States), and 
that Vatican losses in il crack Sindona were minimal, re- 
ports persist that those losses may have gone well over the 
billion-dollar mark. 

Paul's memory of the Sindona affair continued to be 
bittersweet all his remaining years. It showed him more 
clearly than ever the extent to which the institutional and 
hieratic Church was chained to an international monetary 
system that belonged in principle and in practice to the 


spirit of the "Prince of the world." But with all its disasters, 
the entire Sindona venture had not served to rend those 

Two things are certain about Paul's venture with Michele 
Sindona. He wished to align Vatican and Church finances 
with United States interests. He also wished to detach his 
Church in Europe from its involvement in the ancient 
heartland where it had occupied a predominant position 
and played the role of chief potentate ever since the Roman 
Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in the 4th 
century and, by his enormous gifts and benefices to the 
then-Pope, Silvester 1, set the footsteps of all succeeding 
Popes on the path of political and economic power. Sil- 
vester had been the "first rich father" of Christianity. In 
Paul's mind, he himself would like to have become the 
first poor Pope in a long time. 

But in Paul's lifetime this was not to be. "Perhaps," 
Paul remarked in February of 1977, "perhaps only the 
hand of an oppressor can free Us and the Church from it 
all. Satan may overleap himself. The dowry of Constantine 
is too much to carry in today's world." Paul, the well-read 
humanist, knew his Dante too well not to recollect the lines 
that end the Inferno: 

"Ahi! Constantin, di quanto mat fu matre, 

Non la tua conversion, ma quella dote ^ 

Che da te prese il primo ricco patrel" 

"Alas! Constantine, how much misfortune you caused, 
Not by becoming Christian, but by that dowry 
which the first rich father accepted from you!" 

December 8, 1965, was the closing day of the four-year 
Ecumenical Vatican Council. In a cafe near Saint Peter's a 
French Archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, was seated with two 
of his own priests and some guests. Lefebvre was explain- 
ing to them the legal grounds on which he considered the 
decisions of the Council to be invalid and nonobligatory. 
Nowhere, Lefebvre observed, did any Council document 
state that to disobey the decisions would bring on anathe- 
ma (the ecclesiastical condemnation par excellence for a 
breach of the true faith). Besides, Lefebvre argued, the 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 37 

council had erred . . , it had embraced "neo-Modernism 
and neo-Protestantism." 

Lefebvre was convinced that the Council had been hi- 
jacked by Bishops and theologians who were acting in a 
spirit of Protestantism and neo-Modernism. At the turn of 
the century neo-Modernism had been a movement among 
theologians and intellectuals who declared that belief and 
dogma had to change with the changing nature of mankind. 
But the neo-Modernist Bishops and theologians at the 
Council in 1965 were out for something else: a new kind 
of Reformation. "We are not going to have another Ref- 
ormation" was a frequent phrase on the lips of the Pro- 
gressivist theologians of the Council. Paul and others had 
always understood this to be a repudiation of Luther's 
revolt in the sixteenth century. But Lefebvre insisted there 
was another interpretation. Luther, Lefebvre said, had de- 
cided to revolt, to leave the Church of Rome, to go out 
and found his own church. But the new theologians were 
really saying, according to Lefebvre, "We have no inten- 
tion of doing the foolish thing Luther did — to try to found 
another church. We are going to stay and burrow deep 
within the Church and change it into the image we have 
of what it should be." 

Son of a textile manufacturer from Tourcoing, France, 
a scholarly priest, member of the Holy Spirit Missionary 
Order, former Bishop of Dakar, Senegal, a former Superior 
General of the Holy Spirit Missionary Order, then Arch- 
bishop of Tulle, France, the 60-year-old Lefebvre had been 
one of the more powerful and active Conservatives during 
the Vatican Council. As the Conservatives lost ground, and 
the Progressivists gained victory after victory, a hardline 
resistant mood set in among the Conservatives. "We," said 
Cardinal Siri of Genoa to a friend, as they came out of 
one Session of the Council where Progressivist views had 
triumphed, "are not going to be bound by all those de- 

But Siri kept his revulsion under control. He did not act 
as he had threatened. It was Lefebvre who would translate 
Siri's defiance into a public campaign that would finally 
present Paul's Church with its first threat of real schism in 
over a century. 

The first eruption of pro-Lefebvre sentiment occurred 
four years after the Council. It was 1969. Paul pro- 
mulgated a new official text for celebrating Mass — the 


Mass Ordinal. Paul's Ordinal consisted of an Introduction 
followed by the new text of the Mass and ceremonial in- 
structions to replace the ones that had been published and 
authorized by Pope Pius 5 in the year 1570 and had been 
used ever since. 

Two Italian priests, both Lefebvre's followers, wrote a 
critique of Paul's new Ordinal, condemning its Introduc- 
tion as opposed to traditional Catholic belief. The critique 
was leaked, of course, to the Italian and French press, so 
the fight became public. People began to range themselves 
on the two opposing sides: those for Paul's Mass and those 
for the old Mass of Pius 5. Pressured by the powerful 
Cardinal Ottaviani and others, Paul did the only thing he 
could: He asked his Congregation for the Faith (formerly 
the Holy Office) to examine the Introduction, The Con- 
gregation's answer: Everything is all right, except certain 
elements of Article 7 in the Introduction, Ottaviani, at least 
publicly, declared himself satisfied. 

But Lefebvre was not satisfied. He obtained permission 
for his own Institute and Seminary at Econe in Switzer- 
land. It was from here that, from 1974 onward, he launched 
devastating attacks on the established Church in Europe 
and the United States. On November 21, 1974, came 
Lefebvre's first public manifesto declaring the Vatican 
Council false, the Pauline Mass illegal, and the teaching of 
the Bishops erroneous. 

By autumn 1976, still operating out of Econe, Lefebvre 
had become an international figure not only in reputation, 
but in holdings. He had acquired five chateaux in France 
which he used as new seminaries to train over 100 new 
recruits in what he characterized as the true Catholic 
doctrine. He published a biannual newsletter and his book, 
J' Accuse Le Concile. He founded more seminaries in other 
countries, including the United States. Everybody involved 
in the affair became progressively bloodied. 

It was Villot, to his credit, who warned Paul early in 
1975. Lefebvre must be suppressed, Villot insisted, and his 
movement discredited and liquidated. The Church had an 
extreme Right that had been successfully contained. There 
was an extreme Left — in all Latin American countries, in 
the United States, and in most European countries — that 
the Church authorities had hitherto contained successfully. 
It had been decided upon long ago as official policy that 
both extremes were necessary so that the Church might 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 39 

move the majority at the center in the direction judged 
best for the Church's future existence. 

Paul's treatment of Lefebvre and the Lefebvre mentality 
was dictated primarily by the basic premise of Paul's in- 
tegral humanness: Present the face of your Church to all 
men with as little emphasis as possible on what separates 
the Church from other groups. The principle was one of 
openness, of seeking similarities and correspondences, of 
eliminating what really repelled outsiders. A majority in his 
Church may be Traditionalist in tendency. But in Paul's 
estimation, the vast majority outside it were Progressivist 
and could not accept a Traditionalist Church. 

Hence Paul encouraged the Third World group. He 
sided with imprisoned terrorists. He allowed the most ex- 
traordinary aberrations in doctrine and behavior to go 
unpunished and even uncorrected. He abolished— against 
the will of the majority of the Bishops in the Second Vati- 
can Council — the Latin Mass. He allowed a Lefebvre, a 
man of the Right, to be attacked, condemned, ostracized, 
and ridiculed, while not doing anything to restrain those 
men of the Left who published and lectured on Catholic 
doctrine in a way diametrically opposed to Paul's own 
teaching. He made no attempt to prevent the disappearance 
of the intricate network of Catholic devotions to the saints, 
to Christ, to the Papacy as such. He went more than the 
symbolic extra mile in accommodating Communist regimes 
in Eastern Europe. 

Without any real opposition from Paul's Vatican ad- 
ministration and Paul's Rome, the Rosary, the devotion to 
the Eucharist, the Stations of the Cross, devotion to the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Virgin Mary, the value 
of pilgrimages to the holy places of Christendom, fidelity 
to the Pope, conformity to Canon laws, the Catholic inter- 
pretation of the Bible, the sacrosanct character of the 
priesthood, the vocation of nuns, the practice of religious 
meditation and asceticism — and all the other visible sources 
of enthusiasm and initiative in the Catholic Church — were 
snuffed out as officially approved and propagated elements 
of Roman Catholic life. There can be no doubt about it: 
Paul's policy was to favor the Left and extinguish — not 
even tolerate — the Right 

For Paul, the danger was that the Church as the official 
presence of Jesus had once more become relatively un- 
known and comparatively insignificant in the ever more 


complicated affairs of the human race, which in the fore- 
seeable future would increase to six or seven billion. The 
Vicar of Jesus — no longer a fixed and accepted resident in 
a central, venerated shrine, but a peripatetic pilgrim in a 
new order of human things — would have to seek through- 
out that world a fresh mode of representing Jesus. 

In that case, the salvation Jesus won in his battle with 
the "Prince" would once again have to start with humble 
beginnings, to create a new civilization among humans of 
many generations later than Paul's own; a race for whom 
humanness will have ceased to carry any connotation of 
genetic characteristics, of geographical origin, of skin pig- 
ment, of social status, of linguistic difference, of foreign 
economic trade, of past historical associations, even of 
earthly birth. 

Now, if Lefebvre were allowed to continue, he would 
draw heavily on the extreme Right and on the center 
where a majority of Catholics stood, thus disrupting Paul's 
policy by emphasizing the differences between Catholics 
and non-Catholics. Lefebvre spelled catastrophe for Pauline 
policy. He must be stopped. 

So, Paul pressed on. A commission made up of Cardinals 
Garrone, Tabera, and Wright interviewed Lefebvre early 
in 1975. Garrone, alas, treated Lefebvre as if he were a 
dangerous and negligible madman. Tabera vented his full 
fury on him: "What you are doing is worse than what all 
the Progressivists are doing." Finally, under Villot's in- 
structions, they issued a condemnation of Lefebvre on May 
6. Further, they instructed Monsignore Mamie, Swiss 
Bishop in whose diocese Lefebvre's Econe Seminary lay, 
to withdraw canonical approval from the seminary and to 
order Lefebvre to surrender it to the Church. Lefebvre 
turned to the Vatican Court of Appeals, but its Prefect, 
Cardinal Staffa, under instructions from Villot, refused to 
review Lefebvre's case. 

From spring 1976 the battle went public, and nastily 
so. Major newspapers and many magazines in Europe and 
the United States began to carry headlines and articles 
about the Archbishop and his cause. By March, Lefebvre 
was the object of a continual stream of demands, threats, 
and orders from the Roman Ministries. The general mes- 
sage: submit or else. 

Of course, Lefebvre did not submit. In May he toured 
the new Society of St. Pius 5 Institutes in the United 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 41 

States — at Houston, Texas; San Jose, California; Armada, 
Michigan; and elsewhere in Oklahoma, Virginia, Min- 
nesota, and Arizona — conferring the Sacrament of Con- 
firmation on children, preaching against the Ecumenical 

On the same Lake Albano where the Pope's summer re- 
treat, Castel Gandolfo, stands, Lefebvre's sister founded a 
novitiate where new sisters (five Americans, five French, 
and one Austrian) went into training. 

Once back in Europe, Lefebvre announced that he would 
ordain 26 young men at Econe on June 29, 1976. On May 
24, at the suggestion of Cardinal Villot, Pope Paul spoke 
openly, at a public Consistory, of Lefebvre's revolt. Paul 
appealed for unity. It was the first time in over 217 years 
that a Pope had publicly attacked a prelate of his Church. 
For Paul was now faced with a real danger: Lefebvre 
might consecrate a whole series of bishops, establish his 
own dioceses in competition with existent dioceses. He was 
already ordaining priests. And those priests were real 

Between June 22 and 28, 1976, Jesuit Father Dhanis, 
sent from Rome by Villot, had several interviews with the 
Archbishop, trying to stop him from going through with 
the proposed Ordinations. Dhanis' message: You face 
suspension (that is, he would be forbidden to say Mass or 
exercise any of his priestly functions) and possible excom- 
munication. Still Lefebvre would not yield. 

On June 28, Cardinal Thiandoum went as Paul's special 
emissary. His message: If you go through with this, they 
will strip you of everything. Pause and reconsider. 

On the morrow of that conversation, June 29, Lefebvre 
ordained his 26 priests and deacons, and preached a bitter 
sermon against "the traitors of our faith." Nobody present 
doubted that he was referring to Pope Paul as well as to 
Villot and others. 

On July 1 0, Villot sent Archbishop Ambrogio Marchioni 
to Econe with a letter demanding Lefebvre's submission. 
Lefebvre again refused. On July 22, Villot had Lefebvre 
"suspended." Lefebvre dismissed the suspension as a baga- 
telle and preached a sermon on the "confusion through 
bastardization" that the Vatican was creating. We have, he 
said, "a bastard rite (the Pauline Mass), bastard sacra- 
ments, bastard priests." And he added: "If the Pope is in 
error, he ceases to be Pope." At that point, Lefebvre had 


stepped over the line. He was on his way to open schism 
and to excommunication. 

All churches were now barred to Lefebvre. On August 
20, in an abandoned hall formerly used for wrestling, he 
celebrated his Saint Pius 5 Mass. He preached to his con- 
gregation of over 6,000 people: "The Council has bastard- 
ized the Faith with neo-Protestantism and neo-Modernism." 
The same day, at Castel Gandolfo, Paul himself spoke 
sorrowfully to 7,000 gathered in the courtyard beneath his 
study window: "Help Us to prevent a schism in the Church. 
Our brother prelate has challenged the Keys (of authority) 
placed in Our hands by Christ." He also stated: "We will 
not answer the Archbishop in the tone he uses with Us." 

But the battle continued. On September 5, in the pres- 
ence of 2,000 people in Besancon, France, Lefebvre said 
his Mass of Saint Pius 5, and preached: "Catholics who 
want to keep the tradition of their ancestors and who want 
to die in the Catholic Faith will flock to us." 

But the counter-attacks came at him. Cardinal Garrone 
condemned Lefebvre's mixture of "liturgical rigor and re- 
actionary policies" (Lefebvre praised the military regime 
of Argentina), and said "Change is necessary. False steps 
during that change are damaging. But immobility is lethal." 

Five bishops — German, Austrian, and Swiss — appealed 
to their Catholics not to have anything to do with Lefeb- 
vre. French theologian Yves Congar appealed to both sides: 
"Let us have a moratorium on mutual injury. Over 28 
percent of French Catholics support the Archbishop's 
views." Both Lefebvre and Paul would have liked to see a 
moratorium on the entire matter. But only at the begin- 
ning of fall was any real effort made to call a halt. 

Earlier in the year, Lefebvre had twice asked Villofs 
office, as protocol requires, to arrange an audience for him 
with Paul in the Vatican. Each time Villot refused. Paul 
heard about it all only much later. Paul did agree to a 
request made on Lefebvre's behalf by Cardinal Bernardin 
Gantin, a black African, that Lefebvre have an interview 
with Paul. But Villot would not allow the meeting. "The 
Pope will not see Lefebvre," he told Gantin. "He (the 
Pope) might change his mind, and that would only create 

On September 8 Paul sent another letter to Lefebvre. 
Lefebvre replied through mutual friends: "I want to work 
under your authority ... but I must speak to you per- 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 43 

sonally. . . ." Archbishop Benelli sent a message to Lefeb- 
vre which said summarily: Come to Castel Gandolfo with 
a letter petitioning an interview with His Holiness. On 
September 11, Lefebvre did just that. The Osservatore 
Romano would report, tongue in cheek, that the Arch- 
bishop "unexpectedly presented himself at the Pope's villa." 
And he talked with Paul for over an hour. 

When Paul came down that day to see Lefebvre in the 
Reception Hall, he was surprised: He remembered the 
Archbishop's appearance: the long, slightly aquiline nose, 
the thin lips in the wide mouth, the determined chin, the 
wary look in his almost-almond eyes. But it was now 
Lefebvre's attitude that struck Paul, or, more accurately, 
the vibrating atmosphere that surrounded his diminutive 
figure. Not arrogant. Not resentful. Not servile. Not sulky. 
Lefebvre, in short, seemed possessed by some devouring 
idea that haunted his face, his words, his gestures, even his 
dutiful act of kneeling and kissing Paul's ring. 

Paul let Lefebvre pour out all his complaints and ex- 
press all his fears. And when Lefebvre had finished, Paul 
returned to his basic position: "As you are now going, you 
will be destroyed. And all your work will be for nothing." 

Lefebvre's words were clear to Paul. "Holiness! I am 
willing to do anything for the good of the Church." 

"Without obedience to the See of Peter, without our 
unity in Christ, the Church cannot exist," was Paul's an- 
swer to Lefebvre. 

The Archbishop went on to ask for his "rights": the 
right to celebrate Mass in the old way; the right to train 
his priests in his own seminaries. He was ready to do any- 
thing for the Church of Christ, Lefebvre went on to say, 
but the faithful who feel threatened should have an alter- 
native to the newfangled practices and teachings launched 
by the "new theologians." At present false teachings are 
given them, and their Faith is in danger of being destroyed. 

"Does the Archbishop intend to consecrate new bishops?" 
Paul asked. This was a nightmare thought; Lefebvre could 
validly consecrate new bishops. That would be a classical 
schism, another splinter church, more disunity. 

If good bishops were needed, he would do his duty, was 
Lefebvre's answer. He also said that His Holiness had been 
misinformed about the faithful. A big minority in every 
Catholic population yearned for the old Mass and for the 
old teachings. 


Paul was well aware of the trouble. Many found it hard 
to go along with his changes. In a sense, Paul's pilgrimage 
had begun; and not all the faithful could begin it with 
him. There was serious unrest in the Church. There was 
disobedience among Catholic Leftists as well as among 
Catholic Rightists who followed Lefebvre. Already a Bish- 
op Dozier of Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States, 
wanted to hold irregular "Confession and Absolution** 
mass meetings. On August 20, 1976, Paul had had to con- 
sent to release an entire Convent of Dominican nuns from 
their religious vows: They, like Lefebvre, abhorred Paul's 
new Mass form. Father Gommer DePouw in Long Island, 
New York, celebrated only the old Mass, and had devel- 
oped a congregation of over 10,000, some of whom came 
from miles away each Sunday. DePouw probably had a 
couple of million secret sympathizers. 

To his recollection Paul lost his temper only at one point 
in the conversation. Lefebvre was asked why he personally 
attacked and condemned Paul. His answer was maddening: 
"Someone must keep the truth before the eyes of the faith- 

"What am I supposed to do when you condemn me?" 
Paul turned on him. "Resign? Is that what you want? Is 
it my post you want?" 

But Lefebvre calmed him down. "You have the solution 
at arm's reach," continued Lefebvre. "One word from you 
to the Bishops and they will allow us Traditionalists to use 
their churches for worship. Isn't that our right?" 

Paul had done his best to win Lefebvre to his own point 
of view. He had explained that he, more than the Arch- 
bishop, was extremely troubled by the zigzag split that ran 
from the College of Cardinals down through the Bishops, 
through the priests, and into the people all over the Roman 
Catholic population in Europe and elsewhere. There is an 
actual de facto schism in the Church, Paul explained to 
Lefebvre. But nobody has been condemned. And it should 
stay like that. The losses would be irreparable for genera- 
tions to come if Rome had to condemn thousands of 

Paul had gone on to explain how he saw his own func- 
tion: to preside over his divided Church; to bring the mass 
of Catholics to a central position and attitude; to admonish 
all and sundry when they erred; and to launch a series of 
statements over a period of time in which the traditional 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 45 

doctrine concerning basics — the Eucharist, priestly Ordina- 
tion, Papal infallibility, the ethics of abortion and sexuality, 
and so on — would be echoed. Thus there would ring out 
in his Pontificate, and beyond into the dark age facing 
Christianity, a clear bell-like voice stating and restating 
against all opposition within and without the Church the 
traditional doctrine in its barest outline. 

All his attempts, however, to convince Lefebvre had 
been in vain. "What can be wrong with at least having a 
trial-run with forming priests the way you and I were 
formed? In the traditional way? What can be wrong with 
it?" Lefebvre pleaded. 

One part of Paul's brain told him: Nothing. Nothing at 
all. Another part said: Too dangerous! Lefebvre will at- 
tract a large minority — perhaps a majority! 

Still, the interview had not ended too badly. As they 
walked to the separation point, Lefebvre made one last 
try: "But can't you do something to protect us, to ease 
the pressure on us, Holy Father?" 

"I can't answer you now. The Curia must be consulted. 
We will see. . . . We will think about the whole thing." 
Then, with his usual gentle smile: "We should end our 
conversation now. But let's pray a little together." They 
said an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the traditional prayer 
to the Holy Spirit, the Veni Sancte Spiritus. Both of them 
spontaneously recited the prayers in Latin. It was more 
natural and had a greater savor for them than any other 

For Lefebvre, it was not as bad as he had expected, so 
he explained to the press. "The Pope spoke to me like a 
father ... he opened his arms to me. ... It is the begin- 
ning of dialogue. . . ." Nor had it been as good as he had 
wished. "We reached no conclusion. . . ." 

But for Paul, it was disturbing. Lefebvre could not be 
stopped by threats nor by entreaties. Pushed mercilessly 
by Villot's downright treatment, the least Lefebvre might 
do would be to cause an ecclesiastical schism. He might 
(the thought caused Paul to shudder) set himself up as 
anti-Pope. . . . 

In the end no good result came from the interview. Paul 
could not relent and allow an alternative style of worship 
and belief. That, too, could end up in schism and doubt 
among the faithful. He could not approve of Lefebvre, 
because his authority was at stake. And he could not al- 


low the Traditionalists in his own Papal Curia that sort of 
a triumph. The struggle would go on. 

Lefebvre received a long private letter from Paul dated 
October 11, 1976, in which Paul again demanded Lefeb- 
vre 1 s submission. Early in 1977, Villot published Paul's 
October 11 letter to Lefebvre. It was an attempt to dis- 
credit Lefebvre. But the Archbishop was still not to be 
stopped; and his movement continued. In January of the 
same year, 31 French intellectuals signed a manifesto in 
support of Lefebvre and asked the Church to return to the 
"authentic tradition" which Lefebvre represented. Still ex- 
cluded from local churches, he and his followers continued 
to celebrate their Mass in make-do locales: a garage in 
Indianapolis; a rented VFW Hall in Hicksville, Long Is- 
land; a barn in Surrey, England; a disused dance-hall in 
Bonn, Germany. Then, taking another step toward schism, 
Lefebvre and his followers, growing in number each day, 
started their own churches in Europe, North America, and 
Latin America. 

Lefebvre publicly denied that he was "anti-Vatican" or 
unfaithful to the Pope. He kept on saying meekly but firm- 
ly that he had no intention of creating a "Tridentine Vati- 
can" — that, he insisted, was just another lie spread about 
him. He denied any desire or intention to become an anti- 
Pope or to build a basilica "to rival St. Peter's in Rome" — 
another calumny. All I want, Lefebvre kept saying, is to 
"keep options open for bewildered but faithful Roman 

When Paul is dead, Lefebvre's followers will still be active, 
and the Traditionalist movement will have a new status in 
the Roman Church. And it will be up to Paul's successor 
—the man elected Pope in Conclave 82 — to decide what 
to do about the Traditionalist movement which now can- 
not be snuffed out. 

Paufs decision about Lefebvre, his speech and attitude at 
the United Nations, and his venture with Michele Sindona, 
were each part of his more basic decision about his 
Church. Nothing, Paul maintained, but a complete change 
in Church attitudes could assure the Church's future. 

And this basic .conclusion came to Paul from a lifetime 
spent in Vatican service, all wreathed in a complicated 

The First of the Pilgrim Popes 47 

web of recollections, lessons, regrets, joys, successes, fail- 
ures, speculations, theories, and interpretations about men 
and women and children, about cities and nations and com- 
munities and continents, and — very late in his life — about 
Planet Earth in relation to other planets and other galaxies. 
The miracle of Paul 6 is that, given his background, he did 
reach such openness of mind. The fateful question about 
him is: Did he go too far? 

What outsiders saw as contradictory in his decision- 
making was, in fact, the result of his scrupulous caution 
against losing all balance in the nerve-wracking tightrope 
walk that he was called upon to perform almost from the 
day he became Pope, between the Traditionalist majority 
and the Progressivist minority. The world into which Paul 
was born was the world of Croce's "infinite absolutes." It 
had been formed by a long list of geniuses unknown today 
to a majority of men and women — Aquinas, Bonaventure, 
Dante, Petrarch, Giotto and Signorelli, Raphael and Titian, 
Michelangelo and Bramante, da Vinci and Galileo, Vico 
and Manzoni, Vivaldi and Verdi, the warrior Pope Julius 
2, the feisty Pio Nono, the intransigent Pius 10, and that 
incarnation of Romanita, Pacelli. Paul came all the way 
from that dead world to where he could envision an end 
to the civilization and culture and Church structures made 
possible by such a litany of past geniuses. This is the true 
measure of Paul. Pius 12 did not achieve that, nor even 
beloved Pope John 23, much less any previous Pontiff. 
Most of today's leaders have not achieved it. Paul saw the 
end. He acted accordingly. In doing so was he wise? Only 
time will tell. 

Where Paul certainly failed and where he left an un- 
enviable inheritance to the Cardinal Electors of Conclave 
82 was 6*n a capital point. Within Paul's policy framework, 
the Church had no alternative to the forces let loose around 
it. The Ship of Peter was, in Paul's view, simply supposed 
to flow with the tides and currents. Opening his Church to 
all outside influences, he created no initiative within his 
Church. In all this he allowed, sometimes caused, the 
traditional sources of Church initiative to be quenched so 
that at the end of his reign it was the semidarkness of twi- 
light time. 

And so the Cardinal Electors of Conclave 82 must ask 
themselves first, not who of their number shall be Pope; 
but whether there is any initiative left them in the modern 


world. Must they now just flow with the tide? Should they 
adopt a new policy for an active and an actively Roman 
Catholic Pope? Or is it their duty to opt for a holding 
policy and a caretaker Pope, a Pope of transition? 

Whatever they decide, Paul's admonition to them has 
been clear. He sometimes called himself the Pilgrim. He 
did see himself poised on the threshold of the ancient 
Roman Catholic dwelling that would shortly be aban- 
doned as incompatible with the changing world scene. 
There he beckoned to the faithful, and to those he prayed 
would come to have faith. And he called on "men of 
thought, men of power, men of labor and fatigue . . . 
once again to find meaning for their efforts in Jesus and 
in His Sacrifice," 

In the twenty-first century, whether men and women 
remember Paul as great or ignoble, they will look back 
and remember him on the rainy Easter morning of 1977, 
a slight, slow- moving, limping figure in white, carrying a 
wooden cross through Roman streets, standing under an 
umbrella to speak his message again in the deep, un- 
faltering tones of an old man who believed with all his 



Series One-1 970 


Rumors of Pope Paul's resignation fill the air by 1970. As 
early as 1966, visiting the grave of Pope Celestine 5 — one 
of the last Popes to resign (in 1294) — Paul spoke of abdi- 
cation. By then, he was already embroiled in troubles: a 
bitter clash with the Jesuits; looming problems with Vatican 
investments; difficulties in post-Vatican Council develop- 
ments; Vatican involvement in the United States' intervene 
tion in Southeast Asia. Paul spoke of "having been deceived 
by those around me." 

In 1967, he ruled that all Bishops in the Church, on 
reaching their 75th birthday, must offer to resign and be 
prepared to have their resignation accepted. By 1972 
Paul himself would be 75. Cardinal Parente, in fact, spoke 
in his rancor over Paul's new ruling: ". . . if a 75-year-old 
Bishop is not capable of ruling a diocese, please tell me 
how can a 75-year-old Pope be capable of governing the 
universal Church!" Parente had a point. And, indeed, 
Paul considered resignation. 


"We bear the responsibility of ruling the Church of 
Christ because we hold the office of Bishop of Rome and 
consequently the office of successor to the Blessed Apostle 
Peter, the bearer of the master keys to the Kingdom of 
God, Vicar of the same Christ who made of him the su- 



preme shepherd of his world-wide flock." So Paul said in 
one of his first encyclical Letters,* on August 6, 1964. 

But by the opening of the seventies, Paul's thinking 
has changed radically. He* is thinking of a more open 
Church, another mode of Papal government, and a differ- 
ent kind of Papacy. 

He wants to abolish Conclave altogether. That is the 
only way he sees to break the hold of the all-powerful 
"club" of Vatican officials and their lay supporters around 
the world who have, for centuries, decided who will be 
Pope — frequently before the Conclave took place. Of 
course, the Pope was no less Pope, no less Bishop of 
Rome and Vicar of Christ, for the way he was elected. 
But he was less effective. Paul sees Conclave as a product 
of the Middle Ages, of Southern Europe, of the old Eu- 
ropean establishment, the ancient regime. That is past. 
Finished. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century style democ- 
racy as it exists in the United States and some Western 
European countries also is finished, in Paul's view. The 
future, he thinks, lies in the Third World of Asia, Africa, 
and Latin America. 

He begins to prepare an encyclical Letter to point out all 
this, and to open new paths of thought — to plough the 
ground for extreme change. He is willing to resign by 1972 
provided that he will have achieved two goals. First: Total 
revamping of the method of electing a Pope. Second: 
The election of the man he chooses for next Pope; a man 
who can be trusted to follow through with all of Paul's 
changes, and with whom Paul will be able to work. 

Paul, by means of conversations and correspondence, 
begins a discreet probing of opinions about changing the 
Conclave system, about his own abdication, and about the 
identity of his successor. Word of his attitudes and plans 
spreads through the main chanceries, to the Cardinals and 
to the Pope-makers among the bishops, all over the world. 

Meanwhile, Paul begins to key other major actions to 
his plans. He has to make a huge transfer of Vatican 
finances. And, through the Commissions set up by the 
Second Vatican Council, he has to try to change the 
attitude of the mass of Catholics. That mass is Tradition- 
alist by habit and not open to vast change, at least not 

* Ecclesiam Suam (His Church) was the title of this Letter. 

The Time Before Conclave 53 

to the vast changes that Paul judges necessary in this day 
and age. 


As of now, the majority of papabili are Italian: Cardi- 
nals Dino Staffa, Antonio Samore, Sebastiano Baggio, 
Paolo Bertoli (all Vatican-based), Giuseppe Siri of Genoa, 
Corrado Ursi of Naples. Jan Willebrands is Dutch, but 
he too is Vatican-based. The only black African whose 
name is mentioned now and again is Lauren Rugambwa 
of Dar-es-Salaam. 

But these names will change according as death and 
disfavor overtake the Cardinals in question, and according 
as other more ambitious and/or more promising candi- 
dates come to the fore. Paul intends to create more 
Cardinals anyway. There is some talk of seeking a non- 
Italian, but still European, candidate in order to make a 
transition from the custom of electing an Italian. The 
second-next Pope could then conceivably be a non-Euro- 

Series Two— 2971 


The surveys of pollsters George Gallup, Jr., John O. 
Davies, Jr., and the American Institute of Public Opinion 
have sent shock waves through Paul's entourage. The re- 
sults indicate that 89 percent of Protestant ministers, 61 
percent of Roman Catholic priests, and 63 percent of 
rabbis think that religion on the whole is losing its influ- 
ence in the United States. And they should know. When 
the newly-born Jesus movement is cited as counter-indica- 
tion, it is dismissed by Paul and his advisers as transitory 
and "faddish." 


Another factor against Paul's ideas of an early resigna- 
tion is the nascent anti-celibacy opinion. Already, 40 per- 
cent of priests in Italy favor abolition of celibacy. In 
Spain, 33 percent of priests have voted for optional 
celibacy. The Conference of Latin American Bishops 
(CELAM) has called for optional celibacy. 


To cap all this, the first savage attack by a Roman 
Catholic in modern times on Paul's Papal infallibility is 


The Time Before Conclave 55 

published. It is a book by Hans Kling, the German-born 
theologian, of whom the world will hear much. 

When Paul has a draft law for the whole Church drawn 
up by a secret group of his own Canon lawyers, over 220 
theologians from German-speaking lands condemn it un- 
reservedly. Cardinal Leo Josef Suenens of Belgium at- 
tacks, ridicules, and condemns it in a public interview. The 
Canon Law Society of the United States does the same. 
Thus Paul has some preliminary sign of what the "new 
theologians" of Progressivist views wish to do with Church 
doctrine. If he can only guide all these eruptions and 
rebellions, he may bring his Church to a more open 
position and thus attract non-Catholics. His policy will 
be to restrain, not condemn, these attacks. 

paul adopts poucy of conciliating 
the left-wing and Marxist 

Paul's openness to the Left becomes evident in a series 
of moves all over the globe. Paul receives President Tito 
of Yugoslavia on a state visit. The Hungarian Minister of 
Foreign Affairs also pays a visit to Paul. Paul sends Cardi- 
nal Konig of Vienna to Budapest and has him persuade 
Cardinal Mindszenty to leave his asylum in the United 
States Embassy. Paul's promise to Mindszenty: "We will 
never, as long as you are alive, appoint another Cardinal 
Primate in Hungary." Mindszenty's removal from Budapest 
and his exile to Vienna, where he is to live in the old 
Austro-Hungarian Seminary, is a boon for the Commu- 
nist Government of Janos Kadar. Mindszenty has been a 
thorn in the living flesh of the Marxist state. Paul also sends 
Archbishop Agostino Casaroli, an official of the Vatican 
Secretariat of State, and Father Pedro Arrupe, General of 
the Jesuits, to Moscow for talks. He arranges for talks 
with the Communist Government of Czechoslovakia. 

Paul is criticized for the one-sidedness of his policy. 
While Marxist governments get concessions from the Pope, 
those governments do not ease up on their own ferocious 
anti-Catholic and antireligious attitude. And this goes as 
much for Tito's Yugoslavia as for Russia and elsewhere. 
Paul is further attacked for his removal of Cardinal Angelo 
Rossi from his post as Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 


because Rossi supports the right-wing government in its 
strong-arm measures against left-wing terrorists, Marxist 
guerillas, and propagandists; and for his, Paul's, support 
for the bishops and priests who revolt and riot against 
the right-wing government of President Stroessner in Para- 

Paul does not disapprove of the friendship and associa- 
tion of Cardinal Silva Henriquez with the Chilean Marxist 
dictator, Salvador Allende. Silva joins Allende on the pub- 
lic platform at a mammoth meeting of socialist and Marxist 
cadres at May Day celebrations. And when the White 
Fathers Missionary Congregation decides to withdraw all 
its personnel from Mozambique in protest against the 
colonial rule of the Portuguese, Paul approves of their 

Paul reveals his mind most significantly in his Apostolic 
Letter published in May. In it he calls for a new regime 
in the near future. The Letter echoes the theme of libera- 
tion theology; no progress by religion can be made unless 
a ,new economic regimen is installed, a regimen which 
transparently will mean the transformation — really the 
termination — of classical capitalism. 


Pier Luigi Nervi is one of the most famous twentieth- 
century engineer-architects who specialize in what re- 
viewers of avant-garde architecture call "the Atlantic 
style," or the ''Atlantean style." Nervi was the master 
architect of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in San Fran- 

Atlantean buildings are not symbolic of anything, nor 
blueprints of any sacramental presence of Divinity within 
this human universe. They do not evoke the supernatural 
or the trans-human, or echo in their stark lines any 
traditional grace and beauty. 

Atlantean buildings are masses of undulating architec- 
ture that express the engineering dynamism of their own 
creation, not any goal or aim or ideal outside or above 
them. They always seem about to erupt, or take off as 
gigantic wingless things driven by their own self-contained 
strength. But their thrust is horizontal, not vertical. 

The Time Before Conclave 51 

At Pope Paul's request, Nervi completed plans for such 
a hall. In 1964, he presented the plans to the Pope, and 
Paul approved them. On May 2, 1966, workmen began 
demolishing the buildings that stood in an area east of 
Saint Peter's Square, between the Holy Office Building 
and the Leonine Wall of the Vatican. This would be the 
site of Nervi's huge Hall of Audiences. 

On June 30, 1971, the "Nervi," as it has come to be 
called familiarly, is inaugurated and blessed by Pope Paul 
in a public ceremony. Here Paul will hold his Papal 
Audiences. Here future Synods of the Bishops of the 
Church will be held. 

The Nervi is a long, more or less trapezoidal, building. 
Its main doors face eastward, as do the doors of Saint 
Peter's Basilica. Its roof is undulating. On each of the 
two walls of the trapezoid, there is one oval, stained- 
glass window, set like eyes in this protean mass. The 
windows are by Giovanni Haynal. Marc Chagall was first 
asked to propose designs for them, but Chagall's art with 
its note of confusion and incivility was finally judged 
unsuitable for a place that should express the sacred 
serenity of God and the harmony between God and man. 

Inside the Nervi, the Main Hall is gargantuan. Its floor 
slopes downward, like the floor of any theater, from the 
entrance to the stage at the western wall, nearly 2,756 
feet away. The undulating ceiling is like the roof of some 
giant mouth swallowing the visitor. That vaulted ceiling is 
constructed of 42 prefabricated, white, geminate arches. 
The Main Hall holds 6,900 people seated, or 14,000 
people standing. 

On the stage, the Pope's throne is placed on a raised dais. 
Behind the throne will be placed the biggest bronze sculp- 
ture in the world, commissioned by Pope Paul in 1965 
from the 64-year-old Pericle Fazzini, one of Jacqueline 
Kennedy's favorite artists. There were some reports that 
Pier Luigi Nervi was disturbed that the commission had 
gone to Fazzini, and by Fazzini's plans for the sculpture. 
"Two primadonnas singing in the same opera will not 
sing well at all," Nervi was reported to have quoted an- 
other Atlantean, Le Corbusier. 

But Paul likes Fazzini's plans, commenting: "I want a 
work that will last." His Holiness will have it. 

It is in the Main Hall that Paul has his General Audi- 


ences. Here he will celebrate his 80th birthday in 1977 — 
the day many expect he will resign. 

Apart from the Main Hall, the most important room is 
the Synod Hall, or "Upper Room," as it is also called be- 
cause of its location above the Main Hall, tucked neatly 
under the Nervi roof. That nickname, "Upper Room," 
brings to mind echoes of the upper room in the house in 
Jerusalem where the Apostles waited, after the Resurrec- 
tion and Ascension of Jesus, for the coming of the Holy 
Spirit at Pentecost. The floor of this modern Upper Room, 
is formed by the sloping outer curve of the huge ceiling 
of the Main Hall below. The Upper Room is reached by 
ample staircases and by elevators. It seats upward of 280 
people and is equipped with every modern device necessary 
for simultaneous translation, and for instantaneous radio 
and television broadcasting. The quasi-official description 
of this room speaks of its "perfect efficiency in holding 
large numbers of people and providing technical services . . , 
which will make this Synod Hall ever more useful — 
and used — for important meetings of a religious charac- 
ter. . . ."In fact, the Third International Synod of Bishops, 
set for the coming September 30, will be held in this 
Synod Hall, this Upper Room. And there is already a 
rumor, pooh-poohed by many Vatican officials, that Con- 
clave 82 may be held here, and not, as in centuries past, 
in the Sistine Chapel. 

Paul, in his inaugurating speech, stresses one aspect of 
the Nervi: It was built to be the special place where "the 
Holy Father will welcome the people and which will ex- 
press a spirituality suitable for the sovereignty of the Pope 
and the faith of believers . . . [The Nervi] will be a visible 
symbol of the unity of Pope and people." 

Rumors or no, the Nervi, with its Main Hall and its 
Upper Room, is destined for fateful and historic meetings. 

Series Three-1 972 


None of Pope PauPs plans for altering Church govern- 
ment has come close even to marginal success. His pro- 
posed resignation would be catastrophic for his plan of 
extreme change. 

First, the College of Cardinals. Paul's new ruling that 
barred Cardinals of 80 and over from Conclaves has elim- 
inated the old guard chieftains: Ottaviani, Parente, Roberti, 
Tisserant, Zerba. But a good majority of the Electors would 
still be Traditionalist: Cardinals such as Samore, Siri, 
Traglia, Vagnozzi. A whole host of Italians and most of 
the Cardinals from the United States, Germany, Spain, 
Portugal, Ireland, England, Austria, and Poland, are Tra- 
ditionalist. The very same holds for Yii Pin of China and 
Kim of Korea. Razafimahatratra of Tananarive, and all 
the African Cardinals. 

The results of PauPs probings, though still incomplete, 
convince him that he could not persuade 'enough Tradition- 
alist Cardinals to accept his plan. Resigning in those cir- 
cumstances would be certain, swift death for his Papal 

On top of that, there have appeared this year the first 
genuine signs of serious revolt among clergy and lay people 
against Paul's new "liberal" laws of worship that have 
changed nearly every aspect of Catholic religious life. The 
spearhead of the revolt is one Archbishop of the Tradi- 
tionalist mind that Paul felt it so essential to change: Mar- 
cel Lefebvre. Archbishops don't make headlines much 
these days. But this one proves to be an exception. 

Lefebvre preaches that Paul's revised version of the 


Roman Mass is an inspiration of Satan. He charges that 
the Vatican has been infiltrated by Communists and 
atheists, and corrupted by Protestants. He gives voice and 
focus and new muscle to the Traditionalist faction of the 
Church. And he is setting out to create a backlash move- 
ment in the Church of Europe and the Americas. 

Paul, for his part, is as aware as Lefebvre that most 
Roman Catholics do not like his new forms of worship 
or the way theology is going. 

At least two extraordinarily powerful Cardinals hate 
Lefebvre: Villot, the Secretary of State for the Vatican; 
and Cardinal Garrone, a Frenchman, as are Villot and 
Lefebvre. These two urge Paul to stay on as Pope, in order 
to combat Lefebvre and the entire Traditionalist movement. 

On top of these matters, small straws in the wind begin 
to make Paul uneasy about how his plan is proceeding 
for the massive transfer of Vatican investments. Both 
Cardinal Vagnozzi, head of the Vatican's Prefecture of 
Economic Affairs (PECA), and Bishop Marcinkus, head 
of the Vatican Institute of Religious Works (IRW), bring 
disturbing reports of the management of Vatican funds 
in the hands of Italian financier, Michele Sindona. 


For the moment, the only way for Paul to further his 
vision of radical reform is to remain on as Pope and try 
to effect a reform himself. He issues another Encyclical 
Letter, known by its first two words, Octagesima Adveniens 
(the Eightieth Anniversary). It concerns the state of 
democracy and its future. 

His message about Western democracy is put in a 
negative way: "It is necessary to invent fresh forms of 
democracy," he says. And it becomes clear in his message 
that what he means are democratic structures as different 
from American-style democracy as America's democracy 
is from the Democratic German People's Republic. 

Paul's letter greatly encourages many in the Roman 
Catholic Church who regard democracy as an outworn 
system and as a pest. Paul's letter stimulates such men 
to think of a wholly new departure in the next Pontificate, 
and even of the possibility of a real rapprochement with 
Marxists in Europe and Latin America. For, while Paul 

The Time Before Conclave 61 

rejects Marxism as an ideology, he does not completely re- 
ject Marxism as an economic system, or as a political 
structure, or as an intellectual framework. 


The next date when Paul could willingly resign would 
be on his 80th birthday, September 26, 1977; or, if the 
Sindona Affair and Lefebvre problems are laid to rest, 
possibly sometime before that date. Always provided that 
Paul is confident that he has attained his two main goals 
of revamping the Conclave system and the assurance 
that his successor will be the man of his choice with 
whom he can work, even in retirement. 

At this time, only one name stands out for Paul on 
his list of possible papabili: Sergio Pignedoli, Vatican career 
man, Assistant to Secretary of State Villot. He is not yet a 
Cardinal. But Paul will soon be making some Cardinals; 
and those appointments must, as far as possible, reflect 
his new policies. 

Since becoming Pope in 1963, Paul has made more 
Cardinals than any Pope in history — 150 in all. The first 
group in 1965 contained due and expected appointments, 
as did the second group in 1967. 

His 1969 appointments already marked a change. Out 
of 32 new Cardinals, 11 belonged to the Third World of 
Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Two Frenchmen are 
appointed, Gouyon and Marty, together with the Dutch- 
man Willebrands, and the United States's Deardon. 

Meanwhile, the Traditionalist Curia has fixed on two 
Vatican career-men as its candidates. 

The French, the Germans, and the others have not yet 
made up their minds. 



The Secretary of State for the Vatican or some other 
senior member of the College of Cardinals will be the 
Camerlengo of the Universal Church when the Pope either 
dies or abdicates. He will be in charge, so to speak, until 
a new Pope is elected, and he will be responsible for the 
organization and the functioning of Conclave 82. 

He has not ignored the possibility of Pope Paul's resigna- 
tion. Or of his death. It is not too soon to begin the huge 
task of taking stock of the status quo of the world and 
of the Church on every issue and in every area. Nowadays 
— and differently from past ages — it is issues, not per- 
sonalities, that dominate the Conclave election. 

Accordingly, the first task of the Cardinal Electors 
in the Conclave will be to formulate and adopt the General 
Policy — a Papal policy to be followed by the next Pope. 
That General Policy will be based on the conditions, 
changes, and developments in religion, politics, and eco- 
nomics* and on the current evolution of nations and of the 
community of nations. 

Villot, as Camerlengo of the Conclave, begins the process 
of gathering the vast amounts of information required and 
of organizing that information into what are called Posi- 
tion Papers and Special Reports. 

Position Papers will, on the basis of extremely accurate 
and up-to-date information, describe the condition of: 
Roman Catholicism; Eastern Orthodoxy; non-Catholic 
Christian Churches; non-Christian religions; Europe; Rus- 
sia; the United States; Latin America; the Near East; 
Africa; Asia. These Position Papers are drawn up with 
the aim of giving the Electors a comprehensive view of the 
state of religion (Christian and non-Christian), the evolu- 
tion of world politics, and economic projections for the 
next ten years. Under all headings, of course, the emphasis 
is on the position of the Roman Church in relation to 
religious conditions, politics, and economics. 

There are three Special Reports. These deal with the 
Pontificate of Paul 6 (his politics and achievements and 
failures); the results of the Second Vatican Council; and 
the social revolution around the world. 

The Time Before Conclave 63 

Finally, on the basis of the facts and analyses contained 
in the Position Papers and the Special Reports, a summary 
of the condition of the world as seen by the Roman Curia, 
and a blueprint of a general policy, are supplied in the 
General Policy Paper, 

All of this will be the subject of discussion, debates, and 
exchanges by the Cardinals in the Conclave, until they 
reach a consensus on a General Policy that is accepted by 
a vote of two -thirds plus one. Only after adoption of a 
General Policy will the Conclave proceed to elect the 
next Pope. 

Series Four— 1973 


Paul's Papal policy carries him in the direction of being 
open to all comers and all shades of opinion, especially 
from the Left. That policy suffers a rude shock in January 
1973. A delegation of American anti-Vietnam War ac- 
tivists arrives in the Vatican asking for an audience with 
the Pope and carrying as a gift for him some fragments 
of an American bomb dropped on Hanoi. 

Paul's policy has been to receive such anti-war groups 
and Vietcong representatives. 

But American Ambassador Graham Martin succeeds in 
persuading Paul not to receive this delegation. Increasingly, 
United States authorities are realizing how Paul's mind is 
working, and what could happen if Paul's policies should 
affect the mind of the next Conclave and the policy of 
Paul's successor. 


On March 5, Pope Paul creates 29 new Cardinals. Only 
seven are Italian — Sergio Pignedoli is among them. Twelve 
are Third World Cardinals. With these appointments, Paul 
has upset still further the Traditionalist balancing power of 
large European groups: the Italians alone, or the Italians 
and the Spaniards together, or the French with the Italians 
and the Spaniards. No European bloc can ever dominate 
a future Conclave. 


The Time Before Conclave 65 

With this last change in numbers, Paul is ready to move 
on to the next part of his plan for reform of the Conclave 
system — and of the Church. 


On the same March 5, at a secret Consistory of his 
Cardinals, Paul asks the College about the possibility of 
"utilizing in the election of a Pope the contribution of the 
Oriental Patriarchs and of elected representatives of the 
episcopate, that is to say, of those who make up the per- 
manent Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bish- 

Apparently simple words I But this is "Romanese" for 
one of the most far-reaching changes proposed in over 
twelve hundred years of Roman Catholic history. 

Paul's idea concerns more than merely slicing up the 
pie of Papal elections among more Electors. He wants 
more than a mere democratization of Conclave by the in- 
clusion of a. few men who aren't Cardinals. He is aiming 
for more than an increase in the number and the diversi- 
fication of Electors, He is asking his Cardinals to approve 
two measures that would have effects neither Paul nor 
they can foresee. 

First, he is asking them seriously to weigh the feasibility 
of reforming the relations of Papacy and bishops so that, 
as they now are, non-Catholic Churches such as the 
Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Church can 
achieve de facto union with the Roman Catholic Church. 
This is a huge change. Always, up to now, Rome has said 
that the non-Roman Catholic Churches would finally have 
to submit and "return" to the fold of Catholicism. 

Second, he is asking the Cardinals seriously to weigh 
the feasibility of electing the Pope, after his own abdica- 
tion, on the very broad basis of Electors drawn both from 
the Catholic Church and from non-Catholic Christian 
Churches. If they consent to that, it will mean that the 
Pope they elect will be handed, as the mainstay of his 
Papal policy, the principle of governing in conjunction 
with all those Catholic and non-Catholic Electors. 

In all of this, Paul has taken seriously the admonition of 


non-Catholic churchmen: "Peter (meaning the Pope) must 
give up his imperial power in the Church, in order to gain 
authority in spirit and in moral stance." 

It will take a couple of years for all the opinions and 
reactions to be gathered in, analyzed, and brought to a 
conclusion. But Paul's efforts along these lines will fail. 

Series Five— 1974 


"Extremely negative" — this is the nature of the responses 
so far received to Paul's earlier probings, begun in 1970, 
when he made his first tentative public overture at abdica- 
tion, tied to his pet reforms. 

Many responding point out that, if Paul's ideas are 
adopted, the Pope will become the equivalent of the elected 
chairman of the Roman Catholic Episcopal, Inc. And that, 
in effect, would only place the Roman Church in the 
same helpless position in which the Anglican and Epis- 
copal Churches find themselves today. 

Others observe that the very system Paul now proposes 
has already paralyzed the Eastern Orthodox Churches — 
Greek and Russian. Those Churches have failed to ex- 
pand. They have become nothing more than national 
Churches. They have not healed the differences between 
themselves and other Christians. And most of them have 
sunk into a ghetto of their own ossified traditions. 

The Internationalists — those who earnestly want a non- 
Italian Pope — object that, in all probability, in Paul's new 
system the Pope would always be an Italian. Maybe he 
would be a very honored and honorable member of an 
international board of Bishops. But his chief title would 
still be Bishop of Rome — and, for all its glory, Rome is 
and always will be an Italian diocese. Just as the Bishop 
of a French diocese should be French and the Bishop of 
a German diocese should be German, so the Bishop of 
Rome will be an Italian. Now, the Internationalists add, 



no Italian Pope has ever made the Vatican truly inter- 
national — opening out the "Roman Club" to others. The 
last Pope to promise to do that was Martin 5. But once 
he was actually elected in 1417, he concentrated more 
power than ever in Rome. So the Internationalists see the 
whole proposal as a trap. 

The response to Paul's proposal from various govern- 
ments is also negative. General Franco of Spain, right-wing 
regimes in Latin America, the United States Government: 
none wants to see local Bishops have autonomy, and thus 
be placed beyond the control and veto of the Vatican when 
it comes, for example, to hairline election battles between 
Communists and non-Communists, both in Europe and in 
Latin America. 

In spite of the fact that his Papal policies do not seem 
to go well — or perhaps because of that — speculation never 
dies that Pope Paul will resign. Most Cardinal Electors 
still have their eyes fixed on September 26, 1977, Paul's 
80th birthday. But when Paul made his rule excluding 
80-year-old Cardinals from Conclave, he had no thought 
of himself at 80. He thought only to exclude the core of 
the Traditionalist old guard in the Vatican from any direct 
influence on the future of the Church. 


For the moment, under the prodding and persuasion of 
the powerful Bishop of Marseilles, Roger Etchegaray, the 
French Cardinals and their foreign friends have rallied 
around the figure of a German Cardinal as a prime pan- 
European candidate, one who is in favor of slow, gradual 

There is another group of Electors who are seeking a 
Third World candidate. Their choice would be somebody 
who is a true Progressivist, and in favor of a totally "open" 
Church: easing up on all the official differences maintained 
between Catholics and other Christians; adaptation of all 
Church activity — theology, liturgy, piety, social perfor- 
mance — to modern conditions; cultivation of Marxists as 
people trying to effect suitable changes in the regimen of 
nations and individuals. 

The Italians are slowly splitting up into three groups: 

The Time Before Conclave 69 

the Conservatives (who advocate slow, gradual change — 
but change); the Traditionalists (who want a strong reas- 
sertion of all pre- Vatican Council II Church beliefs and 
practices); and the Radicals. 

The Radicals decry both Conservatives and Progres- 
sivists as two sides of the same coin. They accuse both 
of them of advocating no initiative specific to the Catholic 
Church, but of merely allowing themselves to be pushed — 
whether slowly (the Conservatives) or at breakneck speed 
(the Progressivists) — by outside events and interests. The 
Radicals accuse the Traditionalists of being out of touch, 
of trying to set the clock back, and of being blind to the 
vast change that has taken place already. 

The Radicals would uproot the entire system of Church 
government and religious activity — all that savors of a 
former age when the Church was immersed in politics and 
wielding temporal power. They would repair the damage 
done since the Vatican Council by the liberal Progres- 
sivists — especially in doctrine and Liturgy. They would 
oppose the slow changes of the Conservatives as being 
merely pale, hesitating imitations of the Progressivists. But 
they would not try to restore the old order of things — as 
the Traditionalists often seem to wish to do. 

Series Six-I97o 


Whatever the rumors — and they persist — of his resigna- 
tion, and whatever the public response to those rumors, 
it is now quite unfeasible for Paul to contemplate resigning. 

First, again, the Conclave. The Eastern Patriarchs will 
not participate, they answer, in the election of a Roman 
Pope. Their response mirrors the old Eastern anti-Roman 
prejudice: "As long as the Bishop of Rome claims sover- 
eignty as a temporal ruler and absolute authority over all 
the Church, we cannot appear to endorse such an un- 
apostolic and uncatholic position by participating in a 
Papal election — even as observers." They appear to want 
the chicken, but are unwilling to hatch the egg. 

And, for a great variety of reasons, most Europeans 
and Americans consulted fear Paul's proposal. Some, be- 
cause his successor would be another Italian. Some — a 
surprising number, in fact — want no change in the status 
quo of Conclave. Some — quite a large minority — are in 
total disagreement with Paul's theology of the Church, 
and with his obvious leaning to open every door and win- 
dow in the Church. 'Too much, too fast, in too many 
directions, with too little thought as to the aftermath," is 
how one person summarized the gist of the comments. 


At the same time, the revolt of Traditionalist Arch- 
bishop Marcel Lefebvre is obviously becoming much more, 


The Time Before Conclave IX 

not less, dangerous. Lefebvre*s support is growing around 
the world. He could possibly even spearhead a revisionist 
movement throughout the Church, negate many of the 
changes Paul has already made, and make further develop- 
ment of Paul's plan even more difficult. In volatile times, 
such a movement could even lead to schism of the Church. 


The Sindona affair, about which Paul had been worried 
but still hopeful, now has assumed disastrous proportions. 
Before it is over, the Vatican will, by some reliable esti- 
mates, lose well over a billion dollars and much credit 
in this huge failure that the Italians have come to call il 
crack Sindona. It is now reported to Paul that Michele 
Sindona is a member of the Masonic order. Viliot's advice 
to Paul is firm and clear: Before our losses go beyond all 
our power to measure and control, before they turn and 
destroy us, let us get out of this miserable affair. 

It will take another two years before Paul can rearrange 
everything. Meanwhile, this mess alone makes Paul's resig- 
nation impossible for now* 


Having had no encouragement at all for his early prob- 
ings of 1970 with regard to changing the Conclave system, 
or for his more recent attempt in 1975 to open up the 
Papal election in a radical way, Paul contents himself 
now with getting out a new revision of the old Conclave 
rules. This much he can do, even over the objections that 
he knows will come from many quarters. 

In his new rules, Paul repeats his edict barring Cardinals 
of 80 and over from Conclave. He limits the total number 
of Cardinal Electors to 120. To avoid long Conclave dis- 
cussions, he sets a limit of three days on voting. If, at 
the end of three days, voting is fruitless, there is to be 
one day of prayer and free discussion, then back to voting 
for another three days, and so on. 


One of the chief preoccupations in the new Conclave 
rules is to exclude interference by any person or group of 
people outside the Conclave: "There has emerged as more 
relevant than ever," Paul legislates, "the need to safe- 
guard the election of the Roman Pontiff from external 
enterprises . . . and the interference of groups and form 
of pressure characteristic of modern society. . . ." It is 
forbidden "absolutely," Paul now directs, "to introduce 
into the Conclave technical instruments of whatsoever kind 
for the recording, reproduction, or transmission of voices 
and images. ..." Conclave officials accompanied by two 
technicians equipped with electronic detection devices must 
make periodic checks in order to uncover any bugging 
devices or any other violations of Conclave secrecy. 

Further, Paul abolishes a decree of Julius 2 going back 
to the early 1500s against buying the Papacy with money 
or promise of jobs and favors. Paul's new rule means that, 
while it is still the grave sin of simony to buy votes in 
order to get oneself elected, the man elected even by such 
means is nevertheless validly elected and must be ac- 
cepted. The two rules — one about electronic surveillance, 
the other about the validity of simoniacal elections — are 
obviously connected in Paul's mind. 

The centerpiece of Paul's new Conclave rules is his re- 
formulation of the very character of the Papal Conclave. 
Paul has not been able to get an "open" Church by moving 
directly toward radical change. His new tactic is to stress 
the localization of the Pope so that the Church at large 
can be more de-Romanized. The Conclave, Paul asserts, 
is "the act of a local Church within the Church of Christ." 
The "local Church" is Saint Peter's in Rome and its Roman 
diocese. The Conclave is primarily for the election of a 
new Bishop of that local Church, and of the diocese of 
Rome. That election has been performed for over a thou- 
sand years by the Cardinals of the Roman Church. As 
Bishop of Rome, the new Pope is automatically the suc- 
cessor of Peter who was the first Bishop of Rome. It is 
in this way that the new Bishop also becomes all that 
Peter was: Vicar of Jesus and head of Jesus' Church. 

Further, "the right to elect the Roman Pontiff belongs 
solely to the Cardinals of the Roman Church." Paul thus 
reasserts the privilege of the Romans as the holders of a 
special deposit of faith, to elect Jesus' representative on 
this earth. 

The Time Before Conclave 73 


Paul now realizes that his talk of resignation and of 
dying, together with the general interest of the Cardinal 
Electors in the coming Conclave, has set in motion several 
pre-Conclave enterprises. On the part of some United 
States Cardinals, there is an initiative — which Paul does 
not yet understand, except that it is at variance with his 
own plans — to forge an alliance with Polish and German 

There is already a working pact between some Latin 
Americans and some Eastern European Cardinals. This 
agreement is sometimes playfully termed the "Latin Ameri- 
Gdoi-Ostkardinalaat" pact. 

And there is the New Alliance formed around Cardinal 
Leo Suenens of Belgium. Its motivation stems from the very 
Progressivist theologians who have emerged since the Sec- 
ond Vatican Council. It is supported by many Bishops. 
They, in turn, derive much encouragement from the heads 
of the major non-Catholic Churches. They would like to 
open the Church to all sorts of influences — Church govern- 
ment, Church activity, Church doctrine, and Church com- 
mitment to solve socio-economic problems. 

Of course there are still the Traditionalists, centered 
mainly in Paul's own house, the Vatican, who lay claim to 
the allegiance of many Bishops and Cardinals around the 

All these factions — the American Initiative, the Latin 
AmzTican-Ostkardinalaat members, the New Alliance 
group, and the Traditionalists — share one common trait: 
opposition to Paul's plan for reform of the Conclave and 
to Paul's favorite papabile, Cardinal Sergio PignedolL 



At this point pre-Conclave activity is mainly confined 
to the higher echelons of Church bureaucracy. It does 
happen, however, that some ordinary bishop who is head 
of some powerful regional or national conference has 
more to do with the choice of the papabili than many a 
Cardinal and many a vested interest in the financial and 
political worlds. Such a bishop, for instance, is Roger 
Etchegaray, Bishop of Marseilles. Such also is Archbishop 
Augustine Casaroli, Vatican expert on Soviet Eastern Eu- 
rope. Such men exercise considerable power even in the 
ultimate election of the Pope. The process does not usually 
extend itself much lower than regional Bishops* Confer- 

The process essentially consists of a leisurely sifting of 
the names of possible candidates in the light of the issues 
presented in the Papers and Reports. For it is issues that 
decide who can be a viable candidate. The Vatican's 
Apostolic Delegates (16 of them), Apostolic Nuncios (70 
of them), Vicars General (32 of them), local Cardinals 
residing in countries around the world, plus special emis- 
saries and the permanent Vatican representatives in inter- 
national organizations, are expected to and do, indeed, 
find out discreetly the attitudes of the various governments 
to the various possible candidates for election as Pope. 

There are two ways one can become a possible papabile: 
you declare yourself willing and able and desirous to be a 
candidate and, if elected, to accept the Papacy; or, those 
who admire you and/ or think you suitable decide that you 
should be on that list. 

The list is never officially promulgated or, say, "typed 
on office stationery." It comes into existence quietly, and 
mainly by word of mouth. But gradually, without any 
brouhaha, the names of anywhere from six to ten Cardinals 
occur and recur whenever the subject of the next Pope's 
identity comes up for discussion. These are the possible 

To go from the status of possible papabile to being a 

The Time Before Conclave 15 

real papabile on the primary list is a subtle process. That 
primary list is very restricted and, with only a few changes, 
it will determine most of the voting and politicking within 
the Conclave itself. 


As far back as 1972, the publication of Paul 6's Encycli- 
cal Letter Octagesima Adveniens, with its negative attitude 
toward democracy as we have known it, with its recom- 
mendations that men should seek "new democratic struc- 
tures," and its apparent encouragement of Marxists, started 
a violent reaction in the United States among prominent 
churchmen and financial circles. With a Democratic victory 
at the polls in 1976 already predicted, and with even 
greater commitment of the Democratic Party in the United 
States to "social democracy," it was feared that the basic 
capitalistic character of the United States would be seri- 
ously affected if the prestige of a new Pope increasingly 
supported such a thrust of "social democracy." "Already 
43% of the working sector is employed by the U.S. 
Government," went one report sent to Rome from New 
York. We are on our way to some form of socialism. Why 
push farther?" 

The so-called American Initiative was born at the end 
of 1974 but began to take on form only in 1975. It had 
its origins primarily in the will of the United States Car- 
dinals. At the very least they recognized that a Pope with 
an inclination to favor socialistic structures for his own 
reign and for that of his successor would mean policies 
inimical to the interests of the United States and of the 
society to which the U.S. Cardinals belong. By 1975 they 
know that the one central question to be decided about 
the next Pontificate concerns Marxism, alliance with Marx- 
ists, and the attitude of the Church to Marxist govern- 

The first aim of the American Initiative is to break the 
so-called Latin American-Ostkardinalaat working pact, the 
Marxist-oriented bloc. If most Latin American Cardinals and 
their supporters succeed in forming an alliance with Eastern 
European Cardinals, the appeal of such a faction in Con- 


clave will be enormous. The Latin Americans could then 
advocate peace and collaboration with Marxists and Marx- 
ist governments, and virtually parade the Cardinals from 
the countries of Eastern Europe already living under Com- 
munist rule as quite able to survive and flourish — even 
collaborate — with Marxist regimes at home. If they can do 
that, then the Latin Americans and their supporters will 
have a powerful appeal for Italian Cardinals faced with the 
possibility of a Communist regime in Italy — not to speak 
of the French, Spanish, and Portuguese Cardinals, faced 
with the same possibility in their respective countries. That 
would bring in all of southern Europe, 

Further, the strength of the working pact lies in the 
Pilish Cardinals, and particularly in the prestigious and 
formidable Cardinal-Primate of Poland, Stefan Wyszynski 
of Warsaw. He, together with Cardinal Wojtyla of Kra- 
kow, has untold influence with the German and Austrian 
Cardinals. In sympathy they are close to Hungary and 
Czechoslovakia. That northern bloc together with the 
Eastern Europeans could form a governing majority in 
the Conclave. And the Eastern European Cardinals stand 
high in the estimation of the Asiatic and African Cardinals. 
If all those should stand together with the Latin Ameri- 
cans, and draw in the southern Europeans as well, there 
would be an absolute majority to be expected in the Con- 
clave, a majority that would wreck any plans or projects 
of other groups. 

The American decision to break that working pact, 
therefore, has a definite, an urgent, strategic purpose. 

The idea is to detach the Poles — and with them, the 
Germans — from the Latin American-O stkardinalaat work- 
ing pact. Cardinal Krol, himself of Polish extraction, ex- 
tends an invitation to Cardinal Wojtyla to come to the 
United States on a formal visit. And already Cardinal 
Krol has started one of those Cardinalitial tours that will 
mark the pre-Conclave electioneering period from now 
until the Conclave takes place. This one takes him to 

Both papabili and Pope-makers among the Cardinals 
and Bishops now undertake such tours. You will find 
Cardinals crisscrossing the Atlantic and the Continent of 
Europe, appearing in Africa, Latin America, and various 
parts of Asia. Wherever they go, they must go with the 
complaisance, if not the connivance, of the local Cardinals. 

The Time Before Conclave 11 

For between brother Cardinals, unwritten but rigid laws 
forbid them to encroach uninvited or unwelcome on each 
other's ecclesiastical territory. Other occasions, too, are 
provided by chance events when an important number of 
Electors can get together, ostensibly for some ordinary 
reason, and communicate face-to-face about the pre-Con- 
clave electioneering process and its various twists. The 
American Cardinals will not be the only ones making 
crucial strategic visits. 


The deal offered by the Americans is a complex one and 
their arsenal of arguments is formidable. All the Eastern 
Europeans and most of the Germans (as well as many 
Africans and Asiatics) are against the election of a Curial 
Cardinal, a Roman of the Romans. The Americans, who 
lean toward that view themselves, advance the idea of a 
pan-European papabile, a candidate chosen from one of 
the old Christian nations of Europe outside Italy. 

The proposal is tempting for both Germans and Poles. 
- The Poles suspect the inclinations of those who have been 
advocating an alliance with Latin American Cardinals. 
And the West German Cardinals do not want to see the 
Russian zone of influence extended further than East Ger- 

Others set out to persuade the Poles also that any work- 
ing alliance with the Latin Americans will result only in a 
softening of the Church's line toward Marxism. Such a 
softening would have a very damaging effect on the al- 
ready harsh rigors that the Church faces in Poland, Czecho- 
slovakia and in the Baltic countries. The Churches there 
have won some mitigation of persecution because of the 
previous hardline stance of the Vatican. 

There is, in addition, the threat of backlash. The pos- 
sibility of such an alliance in the Conclave might well 
polarize all the other factions and unite them behind a 
really reactionary Traditionalist candidate — and there are 
still many of those. 

Finally, the Americans are in possession of certain 
reasons of State derived from their associations at home, 


reasons which make it imperative that Russia not be any 
further facilitated in its "Finlandization" of Western Eu- 
rope. What would happen, they ask the Poles, if the 
United States really followed a policy of isolationism and 
hands-off in regard to Western Europe? 

As this American Initiative is pursued with success, in 
Rome Paul 6 and Villot are baffled, each for his own 
reasons. Paul knows that the genuine tendency of a man 
like Cooke of New York or Krol of Philadelphia is more 
Traditionalist (with some Conservative tinges) than any- 
thing else. Why then are these two pursuing a pan-Euro- 
pean candidate? And both Paul and Villot resent the intru- 
sion of politicking American Cardinals in Northern and 
Eastern Europe. Paul and Villot share the old Roman 
horror of the Anglo-Sassoni and the policy of divide-and- 
conquer that has always marked their dealings with Eu- 
rope for over one hundred and fifty years. 

This Papal reaction results in a cooling of relations be- 
tween Cooke of New York and the Roman authorities. 
Meanwhile, Cooke and others make no move to heal the 
breach with Rome, for they suspect that Paul may already 
be a lame-duck Pope — he may have to resign on his 80th 
birthday in 1977. 


Many Latin American Electors have coordinated their 
Conclave strategies and choices of Papal policy and of 
Papal candidate under the principle of an open-to-Marxism 
attitude. They have at their command an infrastructure of 
priests' councils and organizations of layfolk that runs 
through most of the major countries of Latin America — 
Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, 
Peru, and with deep ramifications in Mexico. 

The tone of this Latin American infrastructure runs 
from light pink to deep red — from priests and bishops and 
layfolk enthusiastic for "democratic socialism," all the way 
to priests, bishops, and layfolk rooting for outright Marx- 
ism — Marxism by any means, fair or foul. 

The American Cardinals are kept au courant with all 
of this. 

The Time Before Conclave 79 


The rise of the Eurocommunist threat (the possibility 
that Communists will enter government in significant and 
even decisive numbers in France, Spain, and Portugal) 
has begun to work on the hitherto monolithically right- 
wing Italian Cardinals, and the effect is helped along by 
the sympathies of those Cardinals who are already "open" 
to the Marxist dialogue. In particular, Cardinals Pellegrino 
of Turin and Pironio of the Vatican are disposed to con- 
sider the advent of a Communist government in Italy as 
not the ultimate disaster. 

But it is the general trend of affairs at the Vatican that 
has really begun to divide the Italians. It is an open secret 
that the bulk of Vatican investments are being put within 
the North American continent, safely out of the reach of 
any European disaster. This is a sign of "pulling out" that 
is not lost on the Cardinals and Bishops in Italy. 

There is also the fact that, actually, in the 36 localities 
where completely Marxist governments rule locally in Italy, 
there is no real friction between Communists and Catho- 
lics. On the contrary, the very twist of public events helps 
their friendship. Due to the deterioration of the Italian 
economy, the rising unemployment, the inflation, the soar- 
ing prices, the dislocation of public order, the kidnappings, 
murders, robberies, both the Communists (who stand for 
strict law and order) and the Catholics (who have no 
other rule to live by) are drawn together. In f act, Jhey 
become the joint targets of the neo-anarchist groups and 
of the terrorist factions that model themselves on the 
Baader-Meinhoff gang in West Germany. 

Besides all this, the Communists in the Italian Parlia- 
ment have shown themselves to be political "gentlemen"; 
borghesi, in fact. They come to an agreement of non 
sfiducia, the "non no-confidence" pact, with the Demo- 
cristian Government. This means that the Communists, 
who command a majority in Parliament, will never intro- 
duce a no-confidence motion. And the Communists keep 
their word. The government, which is a minority govern- 
ment, does not fall thanks to this kept promise of the 


Besides all of these signs and portents that Italian 
Churchmen see, Archbishop Casaroli, Vatican expert in 
Communist politics and Vatican Emissary to Russian 
satellites as well as to Moscow, appears drinking cocktails 
in the Kremlin and dining in Bulgaria and Prague with 
Communist officials. It is observed that he has cordial re- 
lations with all Communist governments in Eastern Eu- 
rope. Further, Pope Paul himself has not hesitated to re- 
ceive Russian government representatives and to bow to 
Russian pressures in matters such as the Mindszenty case, 
where Paul thrust the Hungarian Cardinal into obscurity 
at Russian insistence. The mood, all sense, is of certain 

An additional and increasingly important factor influ- 
encing many Italian Bishops and some Cardinals is the 
existence of several Italian-born organizations that openly 
proclaim as their purpose the formation of an alliance 
between Marxists and Christians. These organizations, be- 
gun about seven years ago, have flourished, and now their 
influence runs through dioceses and universities and pro- 
fessional groups all over Italy. 

Series Seven— 1976 


On May 24, Pope Paul announces the creation of 21 
new Cardinals; over half are from the Third World. There 
are only three Italians. There are three new Eastern Eu- 
ropeans: Poland's Filipiak, a Traditionalist; Hungary's 
Lekai, a Progressivist; Czechoslovakia's Tomasek, a Tra- 
ditionalist. There are what are called obligatory appoint- 
ments (either because the diocese occupied by a Bishop or 
Archbishop is traditionally headed by a Cardinal, or be- 
cause some Bishop or Archbishop has secured the promise 
of a "red hat" by one means or another) : Baum of Wash- 
ington, D.C., a Conservative; Hume of Britain, a Progres- 
sivist. All will be eligible to vote in Conclave next year 
or the year after. 


There are more Cardinalitial tours, and there are further 
fortuitous events facilitating face-to-face discussions be- 
tween future Conclave Electors. 

Cardinal Conway of Ireland dies in April. At his funeral 
in Ireland there are six Cardinals, two from the United 
States. Cardinal Pignedoli goes on an extended tour of the 
United States. It is part of a worldwide tour during which 
he listens to Tibetan monks in Switzerland, Hindus in 



England, Muslims in the Philippines and in Libya, Saudi 
Arabians and Egyptians in the Middle East — all this osten- 
sibly in function of his role as Prefect of the Vatican Secre- 
tariat for Relations with non-Christians. But the trip is a 
papabile tour on his own behalf. 

In the United States the highlight of Pignedoli's trip is 
a convention at the Maryknoll headquarters at Ossining, 
New York. Many — not all — Maryknoll priests and nuns are 
known now throughout Latin America as being deeply and 
actively involved with, and committed to, Marxist guerrillas 
and political activists. 

On July 15, Pignedoli preaches a special homily. Pre- 
siding there is Newark Archbishop Peter Gerety, who key- 
notes the convention with his statement that the Gospel 
must be integrated 'Svith the socio-economic, political, and 
global structures which are becoming increasingly im- 
portant." And Pignedoli, in agreement with two Arch- 
bishops — one of whom is Marcos McGrath of Panama — 
half a dozen bishops, 75 priests and nuns and lay people, 
challenges the Roman Catholic Church "to make social 
justice and human rights integral parts of the Gospel," 
This is Pignedoli's expression of Paul's plan for "opening 
up the Church decisively in love for all mankind," 

The Eucharistic Congress at Philadelphia in August pro- 
vides another occasion for a big gathering of Cardinals, 
domestic and foreign. The main word from Rome is that 
a Papal resignation by Paul is quite possible next year, 
1977, at his birthday on September 26. A galvanizing 

The American Initiative is advanced somewhat in pri- 
vate discussions. 

Lekai of Hungary, accompanied by a layman, attends, 
but is rather isolated from all the others, as nobody feels 
quite sure of where Lekai stands or in what he is impli- 

When the Congress is over, and after a tour of the 
United States, Cardinal Wojtyla of Poland is the personal 
guest of Cardinal Cooke in New York. There is now a 
strong feeling of agreement in favor of the American Ini- 
tiative between the Poles and the three Americans, Krol, 
Cooke, and Manning of Los Angeles. But Cody of Chicago, 
Carberry of St. Louis, Shehan of Baltimore (retired but 
eligible to vote in Conclave until the end of 1978), and 

The Time Before Conclave 83 

O'Boyle of Washington (also retired), all Traditionalists, 
are opposed to the American Initiative. 

The Poles agree to communicate with other Europeans. 


The coming Conclave 82 promises to be much more 
complicated than any remembered Conclave of this cen- 
tury. As the views of future Electors and present Pope- 
makers come in with recommendations concerning the 
Papal policy that the next occupant of Peter's throne 
should follow, they are analyzed and put into a general 
precis. There seems to be no way of reconciling the differ- 
ent factions — so divergent are their views and so unsure 
are the political and economic conditions envisaged for the 
next ten years. 

Gradually, the reactions to Position Papers and Special 
Reports are reduced to a General Policy Paper. To every- 
body's amazement, and to Villot's satisfaction, the general 
consensus seems to run in the direction of having an 
Italian Pope who will not be a Curial man. All tend to 
think that the next Pope should be projected for a ten- 
year pontificate. This conclusion determines more or less 
that the choice will be of a candidate with that age and 
health expectancy. 

In spite of this apparent concordance of view, there re- 
mains a feeling at the center of things, in the Vatican, 
that the subterranean rumblings and movements of which 
the Vatican is aware, will only come to a head at the 
Conclave, The possibility of a real breakthrough on the 
part of the "open-to-Marxists" and Third World mentality, 
has evoked from the Conservatives a stand-by plan for a 
pan-European candidate. And, indeed, all those pushing 
the idea of a pan-European candidate are, in the main, 
Conservatives, with a sprinkling of Traditionalists. 

More than one Conservative Elector, unwilling in princi- 
ple to be nominated as a papabile, has disclosed that he 
would be a willing candidate in two circumstances. First, 
if thereby he would offset the candidacy of someone put 
forward by the Progress! vists; or, second, if he could foil 
an attempt by the Curia to get a really Traditionalist 


Italian elected. There is a third circumstance: Although he 
is not yet a Cardinal, Archbishop Benelli, present Under- 
Secretary of State and close collaborator of Pope Paul, 
will be a Cardinal before Paul dies; to block the candidacy 
of Benelli, more than one Conservative would be willing 
to be put in nomination. 


An unexpected factor has put the American Initiative 
in supreme danger: the meeting of the American National 
Pastoral Council at Detroit, October 21-23, supposedly 
part of the United States's Bicentennial celebration. En- 
titled a Call to Action (CTA), and at the cost of some 
hundreds of thousands of Church dollars, the meeting is 
organized by Cardinal Deardon of Detroit with the very 
active help of Archbishop Peter Gerety of Newark and 
Monsignor John Eagan. The late professional agitator and 
chaos theorist, Saul Alinsky, would have been pleased with 
the way the CTA was managed. 

Gathered at the meeting are 1,340 delegates from 152 
American dioceses, and 1,100 observers from around the 
nation. The delegates from each diocese should be chosen 
by the Bishops — it is their Lordships' duty. But, it is re- 
ported, the Bishops leave the choice to various sublevel 
diocesan committees. It is not unusual for Bishops to sign 
papers of approval with no fuss and not much attention 
when they are placed beneath their pens by diligent secre- 
taries. Now, those committees are, to a large degree, peo- 
pled with Catholic radicals who are left-wing in politics, 
liberated in their views of sexuality, culturally separated 
from the past history of the Roman Catholic Church. Of 
course, the left-wing of the Catholic Church should be 
represented among the delegates. But the way in which 
their Lordships acted ensured that the overwhelming num- 
ber of the delegates belonged to the left-wing. 

Forty percent of those attending the CTA are clergy. 
Another forty percent are women, mainly nuns. Special 
groups present and very active are ex-priests, ex-nuns, 
homosexuals, pro abortionists, Christian Marxists, Christian 
Socialists, Christian pacifists. As yet to be explained is, 
how is it possible for the Bishops and Cardinals of the 

The Time Before Conclave 85 

Roman Catholic Church in the United States not to see 
what is coming? 

The Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Jadot, is also 
present The Delegate acts as would have been expected 
from someone who is a poor theologian. He furthers the 
impression he has given since his arrival in the United 
States as he traveled widely around the country. His great- 
est determination before and during the CTA appears to 
be the cultivation of the same kind of popularity as one 
of his predecessors, Amleto Cicognani, enjoyed, Cicognani, 
universally popular with American Bishops, eventually re- 
tired to Rome to become a Cardinal of the Church. Jadot's 
attitude to the entire "Call to Action" meeting is, in short, 
one of urbane permissiveness more often found in school- 
teachers on holiday. 

The CTA meeting becomes an object-lesson in Alinsky- 
style parliamentary tactics: All opposition to liberal ideas 
is cut off, silenced, steamrollered; all unwelcome motions 
from the floor are tabled; any opposing group action is 
met with a vociferous claque. And it all works. The CTA 
issues over one thousand resolutions and 182 specific de- 
mands. Some examples: that abortion, homosexuality, 
women priests, married priests, all be legalized in the 
Church; that Marxism be freed from condemnation; that 
the Church propose and labor for a classless society; and 
so on. 

Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia, supposedly the prime 
Churchman in Catholic America, tries to explain all this 
in the Detroit Free Press of October 23. He speaks of 
"rebels taking over the Conference," and he makes light 
of the whole thing by speaking of "a few manipulators 
who had received the support of a naive group of little 
ladies." It is too little, too late, too crude, from too im- 
portant a man, in too important a crisis. The damage has 
been done. 

On November 9, Cardinal Deardon tries to pooh-pooh 
and whitewash it all in the report about the CTA which he 
makes to the Bishops* meeting in Washington, D.C. None 
of his Episcopal colleagues lay the blame where it should 
be laid. 

At the same time, Krol defends the CTA meeting as 
"the most diversified assembly in our history" — a state- 
ment so inappropriate with regard to a religious gathering 
that any unknowing stranger who had walked in at that 


precise moment of the Bishops' meeting could easily have 
thought that Krol was talking about the American econo- 
my, World War II in the Pacific Theater, or the Vatican's 
portfolio of investments. He tells his colleagues that "the 
intelligence and commitment of those chosen to attend is 
a testimony to the discernment of the Bishops who ap- 
pointed them." This is more subtle than a mere whitewash. 
Krol knows as well as anyone that the Bishops did not 
appoint the delegates. And he knows they should have. 
But this appears to be Krol's way of saying to his fellow- 
Bishops: Well, without thinking, you signed the papers 
creating them delegates officially; so, you are in this as 
deep as I am. 

This remarkable performance of the American Cardi- 
nals has, from beginning to end, seriously injured the 
American Initiative in the minds of the Polish and German 
Cardinals. They already regarded the French Cardinals as 
dangerously left-wing — which they are. And now the 
Americans! The Poles and Germans suspect that Gerety 
and Deardon might represent the majority stand of the 
American Bishops. And Krol is compromised in their eyes 
because of his role in CTA and his subsequent defense of 
it. Fencem ending is going to be necessary if the American 
Initiative is to get off the ground again. 

Series Eight-1977 


The first inkling of this initiative comes in June of this 
year. It starts in France. For the Vatican as for Moscow, 
France is the linchpin of Europe's political evolution, just 
as Germany is the linchpin of Europe's economic and 
military evolution. As France goes politically, so will go 
the rest of Western Europe — this is an axiom of Vatican 
geopolitics. Looking to the French national elections in 
March of 1978, Vatican officials reason that if the Com- 
munists, in alliance or not with the socialists, emerge as 
participants in government, this will be an example and 
a stimulus for Italy, Spain, and Portugal. 

The French Bishops publish two documents in June of 
this year: on Marxism and Christianity, and on the condi- 
tion of Christians in the world of the worker. Both are of 
Villot's (and ultimately of Paul's) inspiration. 

The Bishops speak quite clearly. "Of course," they say, 
"Marxism and Christianity as philosophies are incompati- 
ble." But this incompatibility, they go on to say, does not 
allow us to refuse to welcome Marxists in government and 
elsewhere in public life. We must of course be vigilant and 
ask the right questions of Marxists. In sustained dialogue. 
And avoiding all rupture with them. But then we should 
leave them go to it. Why? Because: "We cannot ask reli- 
gious faith to play a role which does not belong to reli- 
gious faith. Now, religious faith is not supposed to inspire 
our actions." 



Then, in the September 9 edition of the Vatican's Osser- 
vatore Romano, Vatican spokesman and mouthpiece for 
Paul 6, Federico Alessandrini, comes right out with it: 

It is obvious that even a mere participation in power 
by the Communist parties in some Western countries 
such as Italy, France, and possibly Spain would mark 
a substantial success for the Soviet Union. . . . But 
as things stand, the hypothesis does not seem remote 
from reality. Nor can one see how the United States 
could oppose an action carried out in line with the 
self-determination of peoples. 

This is a clear warning to the United States that the 
Vatican has made up its own mind; that the United States 
should respect the democratic ideal of a free vote in Italy 
bringing Communists to power, and should not interfere 
with the internal affairs of Italy. 

On September 19, Paul receives a delegation from the 
Czechoslovakian Communist regime headed by Karel 
Hruza, Director of the Religious Affairs Secretariat of the 
Czechoslovakian Council of Ministers. Together. Paul and 
Hruza go over new agreements between the Vatican and 
Czechoslovakia, Paul is on his way to obtaining greater 
freedom for the 11 million Roman Catholics in that 
country and removal of the ban on the 540 priests who 
have been under a law of silence and inactivity imposed 
by the Communist regime. 

When President Jimmy Carter's personal envoy to Paul, 
Miami lawyer David M. Walters, meets with Paul for an 
hour's discussion on October 6, Paul's replies and remarks 
to Walters are diplomatically couched but clear: We are 
not against Marxist participation in government here or 

When President Carter's human rights program comes 
up as a topic in Roman conversations, authorities are 
cautious. After all. they point out. Carter has just received 
Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and greeted him as "a superb 
politician who holds the key to the future of peace and 
equality of treatment and freedom in Africa.** The United 
States Government knows, of course, that Nverere has: re- 
located half his peasant population, burned their homes, 
beaten and killed them when they resisted; allows no right 

The Time Before Conclave 89 

to strike, no free press; holds over 7,000 political prisoners 
in filthy jails; and uses torture and assassination to maintain 
himself without an effective opposition. 

If there is any doubt still about the Vatican's position, 
Monsignore Virgilio Levi, Vice-Director of Osservatore 
Romano, writes on the front page of the October 27 issue: 

"Marxism seems to be changing and Catholics must be 
taught by the Church to evaluate when they ought to 
collaborate with Marxists for the common good. . . ." 
Catholics must be instructed in such a way as to be "sensi- 
tive to socio-political evolution where such an evolution is 
taking place, to be capable of appreciating that which is 
valid in what is proposed, but able to be firm in measuring 
what deviates from Christ and from the Christian attitude 
toward life and behavior. . . ." So, with a view to collabora- 
tion with Marxists, the Church must develop Christians 
who are "ready to collaborate with frankness and clarity 
where collaboration is demanded for the common good." 

The brutal fact is that in the parliamentary elections 
of last year, Italian Communists won 34.4 percent of the 
vote. The Democristians won 38.7 percent. Communists 
offer stability in a country where the people have long 
since abandoned the Christian view of government as de- 
fender and promoter of the common good. Political power 
in Italy — as elsewhere— is seen as a vehicle to promote 
their own economic good. "So let's take government with 
Marxists," the people conclude. Paul's Vatican goes along 
with all this. There is no other way. 


Pope Paul's actions appear to reveal a serious uncer- 
tainty in his mind about the ultimate success of the revo- 
lution he wants in Church government. He has, to be sure, 
done all he can through his appointments of new Cardi- 
nals to increase the chance of a Third World Pope. At the 
same time, in his revision of Conclave rules, he has em- 
phasized the status of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, ap- 
parently to make it possible for the future Pope to sit with 
the heads of other Christian Churches as a specially 


honored equal with his equals — first among his peers, a 
Bishop among bishops. 

He is still convinced that a full revolution is coming. 
But by now Cardinal Vagnozzi, among others, has con- 
vinced Paul that a pan-European candidate is the best he 
can hope for as an interim move in order to stave off 
worse. Worse, in this case, could be a stampede of a 
majority of the Electors in favor of a complete Tradition- 
alist. And, if there is a pan-European candidate and Pope- 
elect, at least that may serve to rope in those Cardinals 
who are tending to ultra-Progressivist solutions — something 
Paul does not favor within the Church itself, even though 
he is willing to accommodate Marxists in other ways. 

By early 1977, Paul has revised the rather freehanded 
way in which he has regarded the possibility of a Euro- 
communist government in Italy and elsewhere. There have, 
of course, been pressures from outside the Vatican on 
Paul to change his original stance on this point. One ex- 
ample: At a meeting held in April of the previous year at 
the Center for Strategic and International Studies at 
Georgetown University, the participants — people such as 
Horace Rivero, William Colby, John Connolly, Clare 
Boothe Luce, Ray Cline, among others — made clear the 
disastrous effect a Communist government in Italy would 
have on vital United States interests. 

Paul's continuing revision of his previous stance is in 
large degree due to the work of American officials, dis- 
turbed by the "open" policy Paul has been pursuing. In 
addition, Vagnozzi, who is Vatican finance expert, and 
others as well, have pointed out that, despite the Sindona 
losses, Vatican finances now depend vitally on the United 
States and its favorable attitude to the Vatican. 

Paul, therefore, reverts somewhat to an idea he had 
back in the sixties: a united Europe capable of once more 
becoming an economic and political force in the world, 
even if it may have to go through a period of "Finland- 
ization" by Russia. "In the final count," Paul would remark 
in August of this year, "nothing new is coming out of 
Russia or China — culture is dead, their technology is bor- 
rowed from the U.S.A. And the U.S.A. is over the hill. 
Europe still has the resources spiritually and intellectually 
and culturally to blaze a new path." 

It is with this in mind that, on June 27, he proceeds to 
make his trusted aid, the 56 -year-old Archbishop Giovanni 

The Time Before Conclave 91 

Benelli, a Cardinal. He has of course other reasons for 
doing so. Benelli, faithful to Paul, is hated by certain other 
powerful Vatican figures. If Paul were to die, say, and 
leave Benelli as a simple Archbishop, Benelli could very 
well end up as resident Bishop of some seven-parish, walled 
town in distant and mountainous Calabria, or finish his 
days copying documents in an obscure office of the Vati- 
can. He has to be protected. And he has to have a voice 
in future Conclaves — possibly be elected Pope at some 
future date. 

But chiefly, Benelli's Cardinalate will give him the stand- 
ing with which he can undertake a new role: that of 
organizer of a "new soul" for Europe. Benelli will seek to 
galvanize political, religious, economic, and cultural inter- 
est in, and support for, a new unity in Europe, As Cardinal, 
Benelli, together with a group of Catholic Bishops, is to 
meet this fall with various European political leaders. 

Casting an eye over the prospective roster of Cardinal 
Electors in the next Conclave, Paul also decides that the 
tendency toward "openness" requires some brake. Besides 
Benelli, he creates three other Cardinals who, he is sure, 
will constitute that sort of a brake: Father Luigi Ciappi, 
Dominican priest and theologian to three Popes — including 
Paul; the 55-year-old Archbishop Bernardin Gantin of 
Benin, already a member of the Roman Curia; and Josef 
Ratzinger, Archbishop of Munich. Of these three, Gantin 
and/ or Benelli could one day be Pope. 


Fed by Paul's own statement on at least three occasions 
that "the end is near," rumors of his resignation run wild 
for the first nine months of 1977. Some chanceries begin 
to prepare for an autumn resignation; many chanceries 
proceed to act as if Paul's entourage no longer has the 
power or the prestige of the Pope's entourage. 

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia 
make official inquiries of their Vatican contacts about the 
possibility of Paul's resignation. For, no matter what vari- 
ous factions within those countries may think, the happen- 


ings at the Vatican have a deep import for the various 

Meanwhile, just before Paul leaves for the Papal Villa 
of Castel Gandolfo, Vatican Radio and the Vatican news- 
paper Osservatore Romano come out with scornful denials 
of Paul's impending resignation. 

There are, of course, ample grounds to suppose that Paul 
has allowed — and even has fed — such rumors. His motive: 
to bring electioneering moves out into the open — to tie as 
many opposing hands as possible, as far before the fact as 
he can. 

At the same time, he displays a vitality, as the Italians 
delightedly call it, quite ill-suited to a Pontiff supposedly 
on his last legs and about to die or crawl away helpless. 
He goes to Pescara by train in the September heat; he 
preaches in the rain to those who come for the Eucharistic 
Congress; then, to top all that, when saying goodbye to 
one group of Spanish pilgrims, he cups his hands and 
shouts in hearty good humor: "Tomate! Tornate! Vi tro- 
varete ancora alVappuntamento!" (Come back again! 
Come back again! Be here for your next audience!) 

This old and infirm Pope, a "solitary Atlas" in the words 
of Cardinal Suenens, is playing a much cleverer end game 
than many of his younger colleagues. 


The first major move to mend fences and repair the 
hopes of the American Initiative is made on August 1 of 
1977 with Cardinal Cooke's trip to Poland. He engages in 
talks in Warsaw with Church officials in the chancery of 
the Cardinal-Primate of Poland, Stefan Wyszynski — nota- 
bly with Bishop Zbiegniew Kraszemski, who will certainly 
be a Cardinal. He makes an extensive tour of dioceses in 
northwestern Poland for five days. He participates in the 
national Polish pilgrimage to the venerated shrine of the 
Virgin at Czestochowa where he prays with 80,000 Poles. 

At Czestochowa, also, he goes into the matter of Papal 

The Time Before Conclave 93 

candidates with Cardinal Wyszynski, as also with Roman- 
based Cardinal Nasalli Rocca (also a pilgrim at Czesto- 
chowa) . Rocca is a Traditionalist. 

After that, Cooke proceeds to Krakow for similar talks 
on the same topics with Wojtyla. 

The second major move for the restoration of the Amer- 
ican Initiative begins when Cardinal Krol, Archbishop 
Joseph Bernardin of Cincinnati (the President at this time 
of the American Conference of Bishops), and Bishop 
James S. Rausch of Phoenix, Arizona, leave together from 
Philadelphia International Airport on September 20 for a 
week's visit with Cardinal Lekai of Hungary. They are go- 
ing on the heels of Billy Graham who is just concluding a 
visit there and will come home saying he found religious 
freedom in Hungary. A fond dream, that, but not one that 
blinds many men's eyes — and certainly not Cardinal Lekai's. 

On the face of it, this is a churchly visit by one Cardinal 
and two Bishops to a fellow Churchman. After all, Paul 
6 himself had received the Communist head of Hungary, 
Janos Kadar, in the Vatican, earlier in the year. How 
natural then for these important prelates to celebrate a 
High Mass, as Krol and Bernardin do, in Budapest's St. 
Stephen's Cathedral before a congregation of 3,000 that 
includes the entire Hungarian hierarchy of Bishops and 
the Honorable Imre Miklos, chief of the Government Office 
of Religious Affairs. Appropriate too for them to baptize 
60 infants, and to attend a festive music celebration at 
Matthias Coronation Church in honor of Paul 6's birthday. 
This visit is filled with many such appropriate churchly 

Privately, the Americans check out the progress of Vati- 
can-Hungarian diplomatic discussions. Things are progress- 
ing slowly, and nothing promising is being achieved. The 
Hungarians are only interested in gestures that will have 
great propaganda value: public normalization of relations, 
so that Communist officials can be photographed with 
clerics; the return of St. Stephen's crown to Hungary (the 
United States Government has possessed it for many years), 
something the American prelates can easily arrange with 
Jimmy Carter; and so on. The American prelates are in- 
terested in substantial matters such as freedom of worship 
and freedom of publication. 

The Americans make their mind clear on other points 
to Lekai. And they have a complex message to deliver to 


the Cardinal of Hungary: The most feasible papabile now 
is a pan-European, The stand being taken by a growing 
majority of the Cardinal Electors favors a policy hewing 
closely to the weaving United States policy of allowing 
Eurocommunist governments to accede to power in Euro- 
pean countries, but not to express even tacit approval of 
such a change in ideology. 

None of the Americans come away totally reassured that 
the safety of Hungarian Churchmen's families and friends 
will not be used as a means of ensuring that those Church- 
men hew to a pro-Marxist line in their activities and pub- 
lic utterances. Nor can the Americans find out exactly how 
far the sympathies of Hungarian Churchmen extend to- 
ward a Marxist-Christian alliance. On his way home from 
Hungary, Krol stops for two days — September 29-30 — in 
Prague, Czechoslovakia, to speak with Cardinal Frantisek 
Tomas'ek. The picture is bad for the Church in this coun- 
try — the bleakest picture apart from North Vietnam and 
Albania. It is the subject of unremitting persecution, harass- 
ment, and isolation. "What's the main problem?" Krol asks 
at one point. "To be or not to be," is Tomas'ek 's grim an- 
swer. Tomasek does not entirely appreciate Pope Paul's 
Hamlet-like indecision regarding Marxism. "Doesn't His 
Holiness realize that we are being throttled here?" To- 
masek exclaims. 

Tomasek's attitude is clear, if finally a little disappoint- 
ing. He will stand with the Poles in the matter of a papa- 
bile. He thinks Lekai is under too much surveillance and 
control and is totally isolated. Although TomaSek will stand 
with the Poles, personally he would rather wait and see 
in the matter of a pan-European papabile. He is not sure 
if, after all, the Church doesn't need a Traditionalist Pope 
— at least for a period of time. "Well, what about a pan- 
European Traditionalist?" is the burning question. 


Paul, actually, has no intention of resigning in Septem- 
ber 1977. Again, circumstances forbid it. Currently, there 
are delicate behind-the-scenes negotiations with Communist 
governments in Prague and in Budapest. Discussions with 
intermediaries of Russia continue intermittently. And the 

The Time Before Conclave 95 

very subject of the talks gives Paul some hope that his 
idea for a reform of the Conclave system (and, with it, of 
the method of government in the Church) can be achieved. 
For one of the chief subjects under discussion is the fate 
of the Moscow Patriarchate and its relations with the 

The flow of intelligence and events this year adds to 
Paul's interest. Jesuit Father General Pedro Arrupe takes 
a trip to Moscow and other places as a contact man and 
to pick up reports of a delicate kind. Arrupe*s statement 
on his return — that he saw signs of relaxation in religious 
persecution in Russia — is flatly contradicted by Father 
Casimir Pugevicus, Director of Lithuanian Catholic Re- 
ligious Aid. In his letter, smuggled out of Russia, Pugevi- 
cus blasts Arrupe's statement as a "time-serving Soviet 
manoeuvre" used in order to create a false impression. 

At home in Italy, negotiations of a new agreement be- 
tween the Italian State and the Vatican are almost com- 
pleted. The new agreement will replace the Lateran Con- 
cordat of 1929 and will place the Church where Paul thinks 
she should be: Catholicism will no longer be the official 
religion of Italy, and the Church's teachings and laws about 
marriage, divorce, and such matters will no longer be bind- 
ing on Italian citizens. At the same time, quiet discussions 
continue about the entry of Communists into the Italian 

In Paul's view, there is new hope, therefore, that he 
might yet attain his goal: reform of Roman Catholic gov- 
erning structures; in particular, the method of electing the 
Pope and the relationship of the Pope with the heads of 
other Christian Churches. If he were to reach these goals, 
then Paul would resign. Otherwise, he would die in Peter's 
sandals. The probability is that he will, indeed, die as Pope. 

But still he hopes. 


In the August 30 edition of Osservatore Romano, as- 
sociate editor Reverend Virgilio Levi has protested against 
what he called the "uncivil" campaign in the Italian press 
which, "without any factual basis," has been spreading 
"imaginary and eccentric news" about Paul's resignation. 


Vatican spokesman Reverend Romeo Panciroli goes on 
Vatican Radio to strike the same note. 

On September 26, his 80th birthday, Paul gets up at 
the same time as usual (6 a.m.) and goes to bed at the 
same time as usual (2 a.m.). There is no resignation. Nor 
will there be any during the coming Synod of Bishops 
which starts in four days' time. Paul receives congratulatory 
messages from world leaders, and unveils a new set of 
bronze doors to St. Peter's Basilica. 

The celebration of Paul's birthday culminates in the 
Nervi, Here, sitting on his Papal throne before a packed 
audience, Paul listens to a concert in his honor. Behind 
him, finished and installed for the occasion, is the bronze 
sculpture by Pericle Fazzini, commissioned by Paul 12 
years before. 

Reportedly, the materials and castings cost half a mil- 
liard of lire; further work expenses cost one million lire 
and Fazzini's personal fee was fifty million lire. 

It is huge. Fazzini's theme is Resurrection. The sculp- 
ture's central figure rises, leaning forward dynamically as 
if in motion. Splayed around it are' masses of branch-like 
arms and fingers, and masses of bronze, flailing, rising, 
rising, leaning forward. Fazzini has almost achieved the 
impossible. For that zareba of dynamic bronze reminds 
onlookers both of the branches of an olive tree — the sym- 
bol of peace and resurrection — as well as of an atomic 
explosion and world disintegration. 


Pope Paul opens the 5th International Roman Synod in 
Rome on September 30. There are 204 Delegates, including 
Bishops, Cardinals, and Patriarchs. There are prelates here 
from Eastern European satellite countries — Poland, Czecho- 
slovakia, Bulgaria (but not from Hungary) — as well as 
from Africa, Asia, and the two Americas. There are two 
from Vietnam: the Cardinal of Hanoi and the Archbishop 
of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). There are also some ob- 
servers — Protestant and Jewish — and a group of Charis- 
matics invited to Rome by Belgian Cardinal Suenens. 
Average age of the Delegates this year is five or six years 

The Time Before Conclave 97 

younger than the average age of those who were at the last 
Synod in 1975. 

The topic of the Synod; Catechetics — that is, the teach- 
ing of religion — in the world today, with special reference 
to children and youth. But the subject occupying the at- 
tention of anybody important at the Synod is the next 
Pope and the Conclave. In many ways, this Synod is al- 
most a dress rehearsal for Conclave 82. 

Catechetics are discussed from the various points of view 
that the Delegates bring to the Synod. 

The Africans are interested in how to adapt Catholicism 
to local native ways and mentalities. 

The Latin Americans are divided: Some are pushing 
liberation theology (they are rebuffed severely) ; some are 
pushing "democratic socialism" either as a political solu- 
tion or as a military-political solution (they are also re- 
buffed); and some are pushing Traditionalism (they do not 
find very many to support them). But one problem all 
Latin Americans are talking about is how to deal with 
rising Marxist movements. 

Delegates from developed countries bring up problems 
created by technology and by living conditions higher than 
are found elsewhere: their countries are in danger of 
atheism and secularism. 

The Eastern European and Asian Delegates are con- 
cerned about the lack of freedom of worship, of schooling, 
of the press. 

And most European Delegates are concerned with the 
specter of Communism hovering on their near-future 

The opening ceremonies, which take place in the Sistine 
Chapel, are televised and transmitted overseas by satellite. 
Pope Paul tells the Delegates: "We have been chosen, 
called and invested by the Lord with a transforming mis- 
sion. As Bishops, we are the successors of the Apostles." 
Observers are struck by Paul's use of the term "transform- 
ing." This is straight out of Paul's mentor, the late philoso- 
pher Jacques Maritain, from whom Paul learned all of his 
ideas of "integral humanism." It is also a term very much 
in use by the "new theologians" and the Marxist-minded 
in the Church, who speak of "transforming human society" 
— meaning the installation of Marxism in place of capital- 
ism. They no longer speak of "converting" people to their 


Catholicism or of "preaching the salvation of Jesus" — just 
"transforming society." 

Those acquainted with Paul's proposed reform of Con- 
clave and Church government realize what he is saying: 
"From now on, our function is to witness, to evangelize 
ourselves, to stay with all men and women, to become part 
of their world, to perform services in the social and political 
field. And just wait." All the Delegates feel complimented 
at being included with the Pope in Christ's commission to 
"transform" the world. None of those who come from the 
Communist dominated nations of Eastern Europe like 
Paul's address. 

Symptomatic of Conclave attitudes and of the deep 
factional divisions among the Electors is the choice (by 
vote of the Delegates) of group moderators for Synod 
workshop discussions: Archbishop Bernardin of Cincinnati 
(Conservative); Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban 
(Progressivist); Archbishop Dermot Ryan of Dublin (Tra- 
ditionalist); Archbishop Roger Etchegaray of Marseilles — 
the Pope-maker of Europe, as he is called (Progressivist); 
Cardinal Marty of Paris (Progressivist); Cardinal Felice of 
Rome (Traditionalist). Charismatics — some Americans are 
among them — are to be "available for private meetings be- 
tween Charismatics and Delegates." 

Cardinals and Bishops with left-wing leanings are tre- 
mendously encouraged and enlivened in their pre-Con clave 
electioneering hopes by the address given by Archbishop 
Van Binh of Ho Chi Minh City. Says the Archbishop 
trenchantly: "The Vietnamese Catholics are determined to 
co- exist and flourish with Communists. The Communist 
regime is seeking to unite all our Vietnamese citizens in 
the rebuilding of our country. And, thus, we Catholics of 
Vietnam refuse to live in a ghetto and to remain on the 
margin of society." Binh concludes: "We Catholics expect 
shortly to be impregnated with Marxist-Leninist doctrine. 
But we will remain true Catholics." 

Archbishop Franic of Spalato, Yugoslavia, caps all 
this when he asserts loudly that "Communist atheism is 
not the real danger." The real danger is: "the moral per- 
missiveness, the eroticism, the drug- addiction, the decadent 
music, and the violence of Western culture." Words that 
could have been taken from the proceedings of the 25th 
session of the Soviet Praesidium. And he adds: "Since 
1950, the population of Latin America has increased from 

The Time Before Conclave 99 

164.4 million to 341.9 million in mid-1977. Is capitalism 
going to feed them?" 

Such speeches have a profound effect on the Italians, 
Spaniards, French, and Portuguese, faced as they are with 
the possibility of living under Communist governments in 
the near future — or at least faced with the choice of such 


During the Synod Sessions and informal discussions, 
many Delegates speak frankly. Cardinal Deardon's be- 
havior over the October CTA meeting at Detroit is called 
"criminal." Archbishop Bernardin's behavior is called 
"feckless." The urbane negativity of Archbishop Jadot, 
Apostolic Delegate to Washington, is termed just that, 
"urbane negativity," with the motive ascribed "for the sake 
of his career." The American Bishops as a whole are 
blamed for not having supervised the election of delegates 
to the CTA, and for allowing the meeting to fall into the 
hands of "irreverent ex-nuns, lesbian nuns, unfaithful 
priests, ignorant layfolk, and crypto-communists." 

In addition, the Americans are embarrassed over things 
such as the resolutions of the Brooklyn, New York, Di- 
ocesan priests 1 Senate (calling for married priests, optional 
celibacy, etc.) and the survey of Chicago diocese priests 
(a majority no longer hold with traditional church teaching 
on birth control, masturbation, and homosexuality). And, 
then there are documented reports with lists of names of 
nuns, priests, and some bishops who already belong to the 
Communist Party in the United States or to front organiza- 
tions of the Communist Party. 

In general, Americans are criticized for being inter- 
ested in everything: the neutron bomb, the Panama Canal 
Treaty, national health insurance, environmental pollution, 
the disposing of atomic wastes, energy consumption — 
everything, that is, except the things that should be their 
prime concern, such as the living faith of the people and 
the soundness of doctrine. One Polish prelate asks: "Now, 
how could we consider an American papabile when most 
of you don't know any theology and some of you are 


organizing a little putsch of your own?" "From their 
politicking for the Panama Canal Treaty, you would think 
that .the American Bishops were interested parties in help- 
ing U.S. banks retrieve the $2.77 billion in outstanding 
loans to Panama," was one complaint uttered. 

Further, no one can explain to many Europeans and 
Africans why the American authorities have not yet dis- 
missed Roman Catholic missionaries in Latin America and 
Africa who proclaim Marxist revolution — such as Sister 
Janice McLaughlin, only recently expelled from Rhodesia, 
who stated: "I support the freedom fighters . . . it's im- 
possible to bring about change without war." 

And the Africans have a further grumble. Why the 
strong political stand by the United States Bishops against 
South Africa? Do they not know, it is asked, that in Africa 
there are 21 one-party regimes, 13 dictatorships, 6 military 
dictatorships, and only 12 multiparty states (some of which 
are de facto one-party states; some of which are in an end- 
less process of "drawing up a new constitution"), and that 
throughout all these countries, blacks have less liberty and 
economic well-being than in South Africa? Why grandstand 
for a political policy that is obviously dictated by purely 
political motives? 

After all is said and done, the Americans proceed to 
put their feet in it, and display how deep goes their lack 
of sound doctrine, even on basics. When the revised and 
final draft of the Synod's conclusion is distributed to the 
Delegates, some of the Americans object to several ele- 
ments. They object to speaking of catechesis as a "con- 
version process." They object to the fact that the draft 
presents a historical notion of Jesus rather than one of 
Jesus experienced daily. They object to the short shrift 
given to social justice and ecumenism — the two planks on 
which many American Bishops spend their episcopal life 
and activity. 


The Delegates, Cardinals, and Bishops are busy about 
the Conclave and Paul's near-future plans. "The Conclave 
has already started," was one constant comment by ob- 
servers. Indeed! 

The Time Before Conclave 101 

High on the papabili list stand three Italians (Baggio, 
Pignedoli, Felice), one Argentinian of Italian extraction 
(Pironio), and more than one non-Italian. 

One Dutchman, Jan Willebrands, the Primate of Hol- 
land who also works in Rome, has been on an early papa~ 
bili list. The Primate of England, Cardinal Basil Hume, 
has also been mentioned. At the present time, both are 
probably good "straw men"; that is, their names can al- 
ways be used as outside alternatives, but only as the least 
of many evils. 

Willebrands has his hands full in Holland where Cathol- 
icism is less vibrant than it is in the Congo, Besides, Wil- 
lebrands has not got the breadth of mind required in a 
Pope. And he seems to be fascinated by anything that non- 
Catholic Christians do. Many Conservatives cannot abide 
his type of ecumenism. 

The 55-year-old Basil Hume's attractiveness as a papa' 
bile lies uniquely in his background. Born of a distinguished 
Protestant father, Sir William Hume, and of a French 
mother, with a brother-in-law who is Secretary to the 
British Cabinet, Hume was educated at Ovford and then in 
Fribourg, Switzerland. As a noted Benedictine Abbot, he 
became well-liked by Anglican ecumenists. Given Britain's 
reduced status as a world power, Hume's ecumenical stand- 
ing gives him a certain stature and appeal: fee does not 
come from "a colonialist super-power." But *eain, and for 
different reasons, he will not move onto the primary list 
of papabili. As the doughty Cardinal Ottaviani remarked: 
*To go from an Italian Cardinal to an Anglo-Saxon would 
be too much for Europeans and too little for non-Euro- 

The "Pope-maker of Europe," Archbishop Roger Etche- 
garay of Marseilles, is reportedly seeking a suitable left- 
wing candidate among the Italians and Europeans. Most 
of the French Electors now stand on the left. 

The American Bishops have rallied with Hnffner and the 
other German Cardinals (Bengsch of Berlin *nd Ratzinger 
of Munich) and thus made temporary Allies of the Poles 
as well in their stand against any really left-wing candidate. 
But the Germans fail to rally the French Cardinals. 

Paul is quite active throughout the Synod. He lets it be 
known that he intends to create more Cardinals shortly* 
Some will be Traditional and therefore obligatory appoint- 
ments, such as the Irish Archbishop of Armagh; some will 


be rewards for work well done (as Archbishop Casaroli 
for his work in Soviet Eastern countries); but some, ob- 
viously, are meant to create additional Conclave votes in 
favor of Paul's policies. 


In spite of deep differences, this 5th International Synod 
closes on a note of harmony and unity between Pope and 
Delegates, and between the Delegates themselves. 

Cardinal Baggio, himself no mean papabile, holds a press 
conference and tells the journalists that "it is grotesque to 
have to defend an ecclesial assembly against the charge of 
having finished its work in harmony." Baggio's remark is 
aimed primarily at the "new theologians" and the Catholic 
left-wing intellectuals who continually represent the Bish- 
ops of the world as in total contention with the central 
government of the Church in Rome. They had expected 
the Bishops and Delegates to revolt during the Synod. 
They did not. 

True, two main thrusts have emerged: one Rightist, that 
includes Traditionalists, Conservatives, and Radicals; the 
other, Leftist, that includes Progressivists, "new theolo- 
gians," and the Marxist-inclined. But the dispute was kept 
between Delegates and behind closed doors. A compro- 
mise was arrived at between the two. The Delegates drew 
up a 3,000-word message to the People of God. They also 
submitted 34 propositions to Paul. These described the 
methods to be employed in instructing Christians in their 
faith. Paul will use them and the message to produce a 
Papal document on the whole subject of catechetics. The 
Americans submitted their own revisions, but they have had 
no effect. 

Between Left and Right, one dispute concerns the mean- 
ing to be given to the term "authentic and complete" 
doctrine. The Progressivists insist it includes socio-political 
theory and activism. The others refuse this. The "new 
theologians" and the liberation theology of the Latin 
Americans finally get no pride of place. But, there is still 
no agreement on what "authentic and complete" Christian 
doctrine means. 

The Time Before Conclave 103 


Several Latin American Cardinals, together with Dele- 
gates from Europe and Asia, let Paul know that they can- 
not back his political outlook on Latin America. It is now 
clear that, while Paul acts as if he stood with the centrist- 
reformist position (those who stand here seek to reform 
abuses in the economic and social systems of Latin Amer- 
ica, without replacing the system), he has given a green 
light to the leftist-reformist position (those who seek to 
replace capitalism with "democratic socialism")- Paul has 
no answer to those who point out that the leftist-reformists 
always side with the "violent terrorists who include guer- 
rillas and terrorists, and who seek total Marxization of 
Latin America by violent means." This reaction must tell 
finally in the general pre-Conclave attitude of the Electors. 

Among many prelates at the Synod there is a note of 
profound questioning: Has Paul 6 gone too far? Will he 
go too far yet? Has he pushed the Church too fast? Who 
really helps him make decisions that shock the majority of 
the faithful? Has he let go of too much too suddenly? 

As of the end of the Synod, the College of Cardinals had 
118 members eligible to vote as Electors of the next Con- 
clave. Of these, only 4 (Siri, Wys2ynski, L€ger, and Gracias) 
participated in the election of John 23 at Conclave 80 in 
1958; 12 of them (including Rugambwa, Konig, and Bueno 
y Monreal) were in Conclave 81 which elected Paul 6 in 
1963. So the vast majority of Cardinal Electors in Con- 
clave 82 will enter it without any experience of Pope- 
making or of Conclave politics. The only stratagem of 
ecclesiastical politics that most of the Electors know, and 
will bring to bear on Conclave 82, is the stratagem many 
of them employed at the Second Vatican Council: Before 
the event (in this case the Conclave), say 4 *yes" to every- 
thing; then proceed to Rome, into Conclave, and overturn 
all commitments and promises, and by sheer weight of 
numbers carry the day in favor of what they really want. 



The 82-year-old Cardinal Luigi Traglia is buried on 
Thursday, November 24. Pope Paul is present at the 
funeral. Traglia's death reduces the College of Cardinals 
to 132. This number includes 34 Italians, 32 Europeans, 
23 Latin Americans, 16 North Americans, 10 Africans, 12 
Asiatics, and 5 Oceanians. Of these, 118 are eligible to 
enter Conclave within the calendar year of 1978. 

Cardinals may not bring any personal assistants, secre- 
taries, or aides into Conclave with them, except when grave 
illness necessitates such extra help. The Camerlengo and 
his Committee are the final judges in each case. Non- 
Cardinals officially admitted to the Conclave include the 
Secretary of the Conclave, who is in charge of Conclave 
documentation; the Vicar of Rome, who is a Bishop and 
who must witness the Election as the representative of the 
Pope's diocese; two or more assistants to the Vicar of 
Rome; the Papal Master of Ceremonies with his assistants 
in order to ensure due observance of all Conclave and 
Election rituals; one or more assistants to the Camerlengo 
to aid him in his duties; about three to iive ordinary 
priests to hear confessions in different languages; two 
doctors with their assistants; an architect: at least two tech- 
nicians and, as present plans for Conclave 82 are going, 
probably three times that number for electronic surveillance 
and security; two alternating teams of translators to ensure 
simultaneous translation at the Sessions of Conclave; and 
whatever other service personnel (carpenters, electricians, 
plumbers, barbers, a dentist, etc.) are judged as necessary 
and fit after careful consideration and scrutiny by the 
Camerlengo and his Committee. In addition to all these 
there are a couple of laymen who always enter Conclave 
with the Cardinals. Their duties belong to the secret of 
the Conclave. All in all, the total population of Conclave 
comes to something around 200-250 persons. 

The Time Before Conclave 105 


It is now certain that with the consent and advice of 
Pope Paul 6, the decision has been taken not to hold Con- 
clave 82 in the Vatican locale where all Conclaves but 
one have been held since the sixteenth century. 

Traditionally, the Cardinal Electors in Conclave live in 
the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter's Square, their 
rooms or "cells" clustered around the Sistine Chapel where 
all Conclave ceremonies and Sessions were held. There in 
the Sistine, beneath Michelangelo's long ceiling frescoed 
with scenes from Creation and Salvation, in full view of 
Michelangelo's Last Judgment, surrounded by paintings 
from the hands of Botticelli, Pinturicchio, Roselli, Pemjgino, 
Signorelli, Delia Gatta, Ghirlandaio, Pope after Pope has 
been elected, usually by direct balloting and sometimes by 
unanimous acclamation. The history that has been lived in 
the Sistine overpowers its painting, its fresco, and its sculp- 
ture. There tradition was molded, adapted, preserved, as- 
serted, and handed on faithfully. 

Now all this is over and done with. In Conclave 82, 
only pre-Conclave exercises and ceremonies (swearing-in 
of Cardinal Electors and Conclave participants) and the 
Preliminary Session of the Conclave will take place in the 
Sistine. From then on, the working Sessions of Conclave 
82 as well as the actual election of the new Pope to suc- 
ceed Pope Paul 6 will be held in the "Upper Room 1 ' of the 
Nervi. The Cardinal Electors will be bussed morning, 
afternoon, and evening from the Domus Mariae where they 
will have their living quarters. The Domus stands in its 
own grounds at a distance of a mile or so from the Nervi, 
is surrounded by a high wall, and has all the conveniences. 
Security is going to be a problem. 

The change, the decision to make the change, and the 
new locales chosen are just more clues to the anticipatory 
outlook of Paul 6 and those who today wield Vatican 
power and who are guiding the Vatican and its Church into 
the world of the twenty-first century and beyond. 

They willingly say goodbye to the ancient setting of 
Conclaves in the Sistine, The Election result will not be 
signaled to the outside world by puffs of white smoke from 


a stove fired with the ballot papers of the Electors. It will 
be electronically communicated by radar and television 
image. And the new Pope will give his blessing, not from 
the front balcony of St. Peter's Basilica overlooking Vati- 
can Hill and the Square and Rome, as has been done up 
to this time. He will stand on the stage of the Nervi in 
front of Fazzini's Resurrection and, televised instantly to 
the four quarters of the globe, he will give his blessing and 
say some short words that will crackle out over the air- 
waves in simultaneous translation into 14 languages. 

"For future elections of Popes, we need an ample space," 
was Paul's enigmatic reply, when asked why he made this 
change. The fact is that Paul was acting in this matter as 
he had acted in previous years on other matters. He banned 
the Latin Mass, although the Bishops at the Second Vatican 
Council declared themselves for the Latin Mass. He insisted 
that the priest face the people while saying Mass, although 
neither Bishops nor people wanted the change. Paul en- 
visions a wholly new way of electing Popes: if not the next 
Pope, his own successor, then at least the Pope after that 
Some who talked with Paul came away with the impression 
that he was thinking of the earliest Roman elections when 
all the Christians of Rome gathered in one place and chose 
their Bishop by acclamation and a primitive voting method. 

At a still later date, so Roman rumors run, another can- 
didate for Pope will stand on that stage in the Nervi and 
be chosen not in Conclave, but by a new, and as yet un- 
tried, global system which will be the twenty-first-century 
version of the ancient Christian Roman Church practice 
when a few hundred gathered to choose their spiritual 
leader. Vox populL The voice of the people. 

Special Bulletin 


As of late fall 1977, there seems to be a clear majority of 
Cardinal Electors in favor of what has come to be known 
as the General Policy. In essence this seems to be more or 
less identical with the Conservative position. It calls for an 
Italian, but non-Curial, Pope who will admit slow changes 
in the Church. 

Of the 118 Cardinal Electors, there are 28 Italians, 31 
Europeans, 18 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 10 
Africans, 12 Asiatics, and 5 Oceanians. They range in age 
from 49 (Ribeiro of Portugal, Sin of Manila) to 79 (She- 
han of Baltimore, Violardo of Rome). There are 22 in 
their fifties; over two -thirds are between 63 and 75. If 
Conclave 82 were not held before December 1978, two 
(Shehan, Violardo) would be ineligible. 

Conclave 82 promises to be one of turmoil for many 
reasons. The United States Cardinals, for the first time in 
history, are going to use their weight. There is, for the first 
time in history, a minority of Italian Cardinals. Apart from 
anything else, some very powerful personalities of opposing 
views will participate in the Conclave. Each exercises power- 
ful gifts and commands a strong following. 

Luigi Ciappi, the 69-year-old Florentine, has spent most 
of his life in tlieological studies and the spiritual direction 
of souls. Indeed, all know he is, before all else, a theologian, 
a confessor, one of the last real old-time "spiritual di- 
rectors." All trust him. A member of the Dominican Order, 
former dean of the theology faculty at the Pontifical An- 
gel icum University of Rome, made a Cardinal only in 
1977, the 85th Dominican priest since 1213 to be named 



Master of the Sacred Palace — the Pope's theologian — 
Ciappi is also spiritual advisor to Pope Paul 6, a consultant 
at Villot's Secretariat of State and at the all-powerful Con- 
gregation for the Faith. Ciappi is ever ascetic, calm in de- 
meanor, prudent in words. 

The favorite candidate for the Traditionalists is Pericle 
Felici. Aged 65, a Vatican career-man, Felici made his 
name as Secretary-General in the Second Vatican Council. 
Most people fear Felici. Only some really like him. Not 
that he is not likeable. But Felici is the oldest and the most 
experienced Vatican man at dealing with international 
meetings of Bishops and Cardinals. As Secretary of the 
Second Vatican Council, and in the teeth of a highly 
organized, intelligently deployed, and always unscrupulously 
liberal bloc of Bishops, Felici almost outwitted them all. 
Not quite! But almost. He wields "the fine Roman hand," 
as the saying goes. He has many "friends." He is all satin 
and no visible steel, all sibilance and no gutturals, all peace 
and hope, no war and no desperation. Even in defeat, 
Felici rarely loses his coolness of judgment. If the idea of 
a Traditionalist Pope successor to Paul 6 is seriously en- 
tertained, the prime papabile will be Felici. 

The Conservatives claim for themselves a forward-look- 
ing position: gradual and careful change in order to adapt 
to the changes in modern society, a brake of sorts on the 
pell-mell changes Pope Paul 6 allowed and imposed. The 
front-line Conservative papabile is Cardinal Sergio Pigne- 
doli, with two runners-up, Cardinals Paolo Bertoli and 
Sebastiano Baggio. 

Sergio Pignedoli, 68 years old, Vatican career-man, has 
been a Cardinal since 1973. A former Navy Chaplain in 
World War II, Apostolic Delegate in Africa and Canada, 
now Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Relations with 
non-Christians, Pignedoli is multilingual, widely traveled, 
deeply acquainted with Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu lead- 
ers. Pignedoli is considered to be unacceptable to the Tra- 
ditionalist bloc: They find him too popularity-seeking, too 
willing to compromise with non-Catholics. The Progres- 
sivists do not like him because he will not change fast or 
furiously enough. But Pignedoli has let everyone know that 
"adjustments" can be made to accommodate enough of the 
Traditionalists and Progressivists to achieve a working com- 
promise within the Conservative framework. Pignedoli him- 

The Time Before Conclave 1 09 

self, meanwhile, is more than willing to be elected Pope. 
And he has been the favorite papabile of Paul 6. 

The 70-year-old Paolo Bertoli is an enigma for most 
Romans, and quite unknown to most foreign Cardinals. A 
Vatican career-man, former Papal Nuncio to Paris, Car- 
dinal at the age of 61, Bertoli is only known really for his 
downright decisiveness. Once, when a preferred employee 
in Bertoli 's Vatican office was replaced with someone not 
of his choice, Bertoli simply slammed the door and walked 
right out of his position as head of a powerful Vatican 
ministry. He now holds several important posts in the 
Vatican and is a dark horse as Papal candidate. Few people 
know that Paolo Bertoli is an intensely zealous student of 
piety and mysticism, and that he enjoys the confidence of 
statesmen on both sides of the Atlantic. Bertoli could not 
care less what people think. 

A Conservative runner-up with far less chance is the 64- 
year-old Baggio. Former Papal Nuncio to Chile and Brazil, 
former Apostolic Delegate to Canada, and former Arch- 
bishop of Sardinia, Baggio is now head of the powerful 
Vatican ministry, the Congregation for Bishops. The stocky, 
square-faced, charming, shrewd, Venetian Baggio has an 
incomparable acquaintanceship with the Bishops of the 
Church, because each Bishop has to pay a visit to Rome 
every five years, and each one must pass through Baggio's 
office. He also has wide acquaintance with Latin America 
and its problems. Baggio is distrusted by the Traditionalists, 
has a weak reputation as a theologian, and would probably 
follow through on the policies of Paul 6. 

The present working majority behind Pignedoli as the 
front-runner Conservative is rather formidable and, as of 
Fall 1977 it somewhat exceeds the two-thirds plus one 
majority needed for a valid Conclave election of a Pope. 
But that majority is not arrived at in a simple, direct way. 
For, in themselves, the Cardinal Electors are divided into 
four main groups, none of which commands the needed 
majority. The Conservatives could assure themselves of a 
working majority in the Fall of 1977 on the basis of fore- 
seen and much discussed compromises. 

Before any compromise and working alliance, the Tra- 
ditionalists are 50 in number: far short of the two-thirds 
plus one majority. 

Conservatives, in themselves, are no better off; with only 


35 basically guaranteed votes, the Conservatives also lack 
a commanding majority. 

The remaining Electors are divided into 26 Progres- 
sivists and 7 Radicals. 

Schematically, therefore, the blocs are: 

Traditionalists 50 

Conservatives 35 

Progressivists 26 

Radicals 7 


The catalyst for this no-win situation is the ever-rising 
pressure from the Progressivist Roman Catholic Bishops 
and priests in Europe, in Latin America and, to a far less- 
er degree, in the United States. There is the possibility of 
an alliance between Conservatives and Progressivists, giv- 
ing a simple majority of 61. In the backing-and-forthing 
of Conclave electioneering, it would be relatively easy for 
a simple majority of 61 to pick up the remaining 18 votes 
required for a two-thirds plus one majority. 

To offset this possibility, Traditionalists (50) would be 
willing to make a compromise with Conservatives (35), 
thus producing more than the absolute majority needed for 
election. The chief point on which Traditionalists are will- 
ing to compromise is the ecclesiastical character of the 
next Pope: He would be an Italian but a non-Curial man 
(i.e., not a member of any Roman Ministry), and a non- 
Roman (i.e., not pro-Curia in his sympathies). 

If necessary, the Conservatives will consent to back a 
non-Italian European — the so-called pan-European papa- 
bile. Such a candidate would split the Progressivists, reduc- 
ing their number to at least half its present strength. Only 
in dire straits and in real danger of seeing the Conclave 
swing violently to the Left will the Traditionalists support 
a pan-European candidate. 

The most likely pan-European candidate is a Dutchman, 
Cardinal Jan Willebrands. He is a 69-year-old, round- 
faced, bespectacled, balding Dutchman who is trusted by 
Traditionalists, Progressivists, Conservatives, and Radicals 
— mainly because he offends none. He can be a guarantor 
of Progressivist orthodoxy while a permissive father for the 
experimentation of far-out Progressivist ideas. For 15 years 

The Time Before Conclave 111 

he headed the Vatican's Ecumenism center, the Secretariat 
for Christian Unity. A Cardinal of nine years' standing, 
appointed Primate of Holland in 1976, he has been nick- 
named the "Flying Dutchman": He still functions at 
Rome's Ecumenism center, while commuting as Primate 
of Holland. Willebrands has balanced delicately between 
his functions as Primate of the Dutch Church, which is in 
practical schism from Rome, and his function as Vatican 
insider enjoying the confidence of Pope Paul and many 
Progressivist Italians. 

Coming up more and more frequently in conversation as 
a possible dark horse is Giovanni Benelli. Nicknamed by 
his enemies the "Gauleiter," the "Cossack," "II Duce," 
"the Hangman," Benelli had been extremely powerful as 
sub-Secretary of State under Villot, and had axed many a 
hotbed of political patronage, feather-bedding, and crony- 
ism in the Vatican bureaucracy. It was Benelli who was 
responsible for the removal of Monsignore Bugnini, once 
a strong hand in Vatican affairs concerning Liturgy and 
worship. Even then, Bugnini's friends were so powerful and 
Benelli's enemies so strong, that Pope Paul could take no 
stronger action against Bugnini than to send him as Apos- 
tolic Delegate to the Shah's Teheran, a plum in the dip- 
lomatic job-list. But, at least he was banished from any 
sensitive Vatican post. 

This proved to be the beginning of Benelli's downfall. 
Vulnerable as a known sympathizer of Archbishop Lef eb- 
vre, in opposition to Villot, and vulnerable as the one who 
had brought down Bugnini, Benelli as simple Archbishop 
and Vatican aide finally fell prey to his persistent and 
powerful enemies. There was no way even the Pope could 
protect Benelli's position in Rome. In fact, only the Pope's 
unilateral and unexpected action prevented Benelli from 
being exiled and nullified forever. Paul made Benelli 
Cardinal and Archbishop of Florence. Benelli, Paul rea- 
soned, still had a chance to come back. He was near Rome, 
and he would have a vote in Conclave. "Benelli will have 
his day, of course," Paul had told Villot 

Benelli, at Paul's instigation, set out to recreate the idea 
of a unified Europe. Success in this effort may be Benelli's 
last milestone on his way to the Papacy. 

The formation of the Progressivist and the Radical blocs 
is of such a recent date that no one Cardinal. Elector has 
emerged as the leader of Progressivists or of Radicals. Re- 


ports in Rome would seem to indicate that a "dark horse" 
is the prime organizer both of Progressivists and Radicals. 
Although no one is sure, the name of one African Elector 
is mentioned as the Progressivists leader, while the name 
of an Anglo-Saxon Cardinal is brought up as the true 
organizer of the Radicals. 

Special Bulletins— 

From the Death of Paul 6 to the 

Opening of Conclave 82 


When Pope Paul 6*s doctors declare him medically dead, 
the interim government of the Vatican falls to one Cardinal 
who from then on is addressed as the Camerlengo of the 
Universal Church at that moment. He will remain in charge, 
organizing a caretaker government, until the next Pope is 

As Camerlengo he approaches the cadaver lying in the 
Pope's bedroom. He is accompanied by two other Cardinals, 
flanked by other Vatican officials, and watched by repre- 
sentatives of the Italian State and international diplomatic 
corps. He taps the dead Paul's forehead three times with a 
silver hammer, and asks each time: "Giovanni Battista, 
are you dead?" When he receives no answering sign, the 
Camerlengo intones the phrase; "Pope Paul is truly dead." 
This is the age-old ritual at a Pope's death. 

He then removes the Fisherman's Ring from the fourth 
finger of Paul's right hand. It is broken, together with all 
of Paul's seals of office, so that no one can use them to 
authenticate a false document. 

An official death certificate is drawn up by a Papal 
secretary. The Cardinal Camerlengo locks the private 
apartments of the dead Pope. With a small committee of 
Cardinals, he assumes charge of all Vatican affairs. He 
arranges the burial of Paul and the Conclave at which 
Paul's successor will be elected. Summonses are sent out 
to all the Cardinal Electors, announcing the death of the 
Pope and declaring the official opening date of Conclave 



82 at which Pope Paul's successor will be chosen by the 
Electors. The Conclave must begin, at the latest, 20 days 
from the day on which the previous Pope dies. 

During nine days of official mourning, all Vatican flags 
are flown at half mast. The five bells of St. Peter's take up 
a traditional mourning cadence, tolling for hours on end 
each day and into the night. Vatican attendants prepare 
the body for burial, washing and embalming it. It is then 
taken to St. Peter's Basilica where it lies in state in the 
nave of the Basilica on a crimson- trimmed bier watched 
over by Papal Swiss Guards. Later it is brought to the 
apse where the triple Papal coffin (one of cypress wood 
inside one of cedar wood inside one of bronze) awaits it. 

When nine days of official mourning are over, a Re- 
quiem Mass is sung in St. Peter's attended by all Cardinals 
in Rome, by the diplomatic corps, by government represen- 
tatives, and by tens of thousands of Roman Catholics. 
"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord" is the refrain of the 
obsequies. One Vatican official pronounces a public eulogy. 
The dead Pope's broken ring and seals, and three velvet 
bags containing samples of all coins issued during his Pon- 
tificate, are placed in the coffin with the body. The sampe- 
trini, the attendants at St. Peter's, close the three coffins 
with gilt nails. The Camerlengo and his assistants seal the 
last coffin. It is then lowered by pulleys to the crypt be- 
neath the marble floor of the Basilica and placed in the 
sarcophagus that already carries the dead Pope's name. 
Some yards away, in the same crypt, is the tomb of Simon 


For the new Pope who will be elected at the Conclave, 
Vatican tailors prepare three sets of vestments: large, 
medium, and small sets of white cassocks, white slippers 
embroidered with a gold cross, white skull caps, red rochets, 
red cloaks, and red stoles. 

The Time Before Conclave 115 


On the opening day of Conclave 82, the Cardinals assist 
at the morning Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Pauline 
Chapel, which is part of the main Vatican building adja- 
cent to Saint Peter's Basilica. Afterward they disperse, 
some back to their hotels or their apartments in the Vati- 
can, some to meetings and caucuses, some to go sight- 

In the afternoon, they again assemble in the Sistine 
Chapel, together with the service personnel of the coming 
Conclave. Alone, without any outsiders in the Chapel, they 
listen while the Cardinal Dean reads Part TT of the Special 
Constitution drawn up and promulgated by Pope Paul 6 
on October 1, 1975. Its title: Concerning the Method of 
Electing the Roman Pontiff. The seven chapters of this 
Part II contain approximately 5,600 words in Latin. The 
Cardinal Dean reads every word of it to the Cardinals. 

When he has finished the reading, the Cardinal Dean 
reads out loud in Latin the fixed formula of the solemn 
Conclave oath: 

"Each and all of us, Cardinal Electors, gathered in 
this Conclave, promise, vow, and swear a solemn and 
sacred oath that each and all of us will observe all 
prescriptions and laws which are contained in the 
Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff, Paul 
6, which was promulgated by him on October 1, 1975, 
and which begins with the words 'In Electing the 
Roman Pontiff. . . .' 

"We also vow and swear that whoever of us, under 
God's providence, shall be elected, we shall vindicate 
and protect for him the spiritual and temporal rights 
and liberty of the Holy See. And, if necessary, that 
we will keep on for ever vindicating those rights and 

"Moreover, we particularly promise and swear that 
we will maintain secret from everyone, including all 


Conclave personnel and Conclave aides, all matters 
pertaining in any way whatsoever to the election of 
the Roman Pontiff; also, all matters which directly or 
indirectly concern the voting in Conclave or in the 
place of election; and that we will never in any way 
violate that secret, either during the Conclave or even 
after the election of a new Pontiff — unless that same 
future Pontiff gives a specific permission or a certified 
dispensation from the secret. 

"In the same way, we will never accept the task of 
proposing a veto or an exclusionary clause against any 
candidate, in any shape or form — even in the form of 
a simple wish — on behalf of anybody else or of any 
civil or political or other authority. Nor shall we ever 
disclose that we have or know of a veto or exclusionary 
clause, no matter how we come to know of it. Nor 
shall we give any help to any such intervention or 
request or wish, or to any other move by worldly 
powers and authorities of any grade or status or to 
any group of people or to any individual who would 
like to be involved in the election of the Pontiff.*' 

When the Cardinal Dean has finished reciting this solemn 
Conclave oath in a loud voice, each Cardinal stands up, 
comes forward, and states in an audible voice: "And I, 

Cardinal so vow and swear." Then, laying his right 

hand on a copy of the Gospels, he adds: "So help me God 
and this Gospel of God which I touch with my hand." 


The Electors and Conclave personnel are then joined by 
members of the diplomatic corps, invited heads of State, 
invited guests. They all listen to a special sermon — the 
Exhortation — concerning the duties of the Electors in this 
particular Conclave 82. The Cardinal who gives the Ex- 
hortation is chosen for his speaking ability as well as for 
the reputation he enjoys among his brother Cardinals for 
holiness, learning, and understanding. 

The Exhortation preceding Conclave 82 will proceed 
somewhat in the following fashion: 

The Time Before Conclave 117 

"My Most Eminent and Most Reverend Lord Camer- 
lengo! My Most Eminent and Beloved Brothers, My Lord 
Cardinals! Most Reverend Bishops and Monsignoril Be- 
loved Priests and Brothers and Sisters! Most Distinguished 
Gentlemen and Ladies! My dearest Christian brothers and 

"Just twenty-one days ago, the Universal Church and all 
of us enjoyed the presence of Our Most Beloved and 
Eminent and Holy Lord, His Holiness Pope Paul 6 of most 
gracious memory. And, since then, the good Lord Jesus 
has seen fit to call His Holiness home for judgment, for 
reward, and for eternal peace. 

"Your humble servant was privileged to be with His 
Holiness in his last hours. And whatever I here communi- 
cate of His Holiness' last thoughts, I do so with the sure 
knowledge that such was His Holiness' will and desire. 

"His Holiness wished most of all, to most humbly beg 
pardon of all Your Eminences, of all Your Reverences, for 
any hurt or pain His Holiness may have caused any one 
during his pontificate, either by thoughts, by words, or by 
actions. And, when expressing this sorrow. His Holiness 
asked that you remember, not the pain or disappointment 
or hurt caused you, but the forgiveness of our Lord Jesus, 
which — I can assure Your Eminences — Pope Paul humbly 
sought on his deathbed, and which, I am sure under God's 
providence, His Holiness received. So? Why should we not 
imitate Our Lord Jesus in this matter of forgiveness — as 
indeed we are supposed to imitate Him in everything? 

"This is not the place or the occasion to speak in praise 
or appraisal of His Holiness. Others will do that at future 
times. If His Holiness enters into the theme of my Exhorta- 
tion, it can only be insofar as His Holiness is bound up 
with that Exhortation's proper theme — the duties of the 
Most Eminent Cardinal Electors — of whom I am, un- 
worthily, one, in this Conclave 82 which is about to begin. 

"In one respect, My Brothers, we enter this Conclave 
both clear-minded and unconfused. We know our duty: to 
choose a worthy successor to Peter the Apostle and to Pope 
Paul of happy memory. To choose him so carefully and with 
such personal detachment that, at the end of our labors — 
for labors they shall be, I think — we can truly announce 
to the Universal Church and to the world of men and 
women and children around us: *It has seemed good to 


the Holy Spirit and to us to choose a Vicar of the Lord 
Jesus. « . . We have a Pope!' 

"But in other respects, we are just as confused as any of 
our contemporaries. For, like them, but with a bitter sharp- 
ness they never undergo, we are buffeted by cruel winds 
and harried by ill-tempered events that brook no delay and 
threaten to carry us and our beloved Church off in direc- 
tions we know must surely lead to shipwreck of our hopes 
and extinction of our precious faith. 

"My own small contribution as the one chosen to give 
this pre-Conclave Exhortation is intended to help Your 
Eminences in our difficult task. It is the fruit of my study 
and reflection on our long, laborious history. And if there 
is one lesson that leaps out at me over and over again 
from the pages of that history, it is that, time and time 
again, this institutional Church, which was founded by 
Jesus, which survived the catacombs, which was placed on 
a pinnacle by the Emperor Constant] ne, and which has 
survived for all those centuries, that this Church has been 
brought by uncontrollable human events to a very danger- 
ous brink, to a sheer, steep cliff of decision on more than 
one occasion. Unfailingly, each time, the Churchmen at 
the head of affairs shied away from one stark decision. But 
still, time and again, the Church is brought back to face 
that decision. Until now, in Conclave 82, we may face it 
for the final time. And, believe me, all that I say of those 
good men who have come before us, and who have all gone 
to God, I say without any intention of reproach or of 

"But, let me give you some ordinary examples. Pope 
Leo 3 in the eighth century was, for a variety of reasons, 
brought to the point that he no longer could exercise any 
temporal power at all; any financial power, any military 
power, any diplomatic power, any political power. Did 
he then renounce all claims to his temporal power and rely 
solely on the power and authority of Jesus? That power 
Jesus promised when he said to Simon: 'You are Peter. 
To you I give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,' as the 
Gospel relates? Did he? 

"No. His Holiness, Leo 3 of happy memory, did not. He 
fled as a fugitive on horseback to Paderborn, knelt and 
kissed the hand of the Emperor Charlemagne who then 
proceeded to reinstall Pope Leo in even fuller exercise of 
all that worldly power. 

The Time Before Conclave 119 

"The hard decision — to rely solely on the power of spirit 
and of Jesus — that hard decision had been refused. 

"A little over six hundred years later, at the Council of 
Constance, the representatives and rulers of six major 
European nations gathered to reform the Church which 
had been wracked and ruined by the disputes of Popes 
and anti-Popes, But the main proposal in front of every- 
body's mind was simple: Let us once and for all rid the 
Papacy and the Church of Jesus of its temporal power, 
since it was precisely through that power that the Church 
has been wracked by a series of devastating wars, diseases, 
famines, massacres, cruelties, desecrations, anti-Popes, anti- 
Synods, anti-Cardinals, hate, bloodshed, torture, infidelities, 
and the believers of the Church have been scandalized and 

"What happened? 

"No sooner was Pope Martin 5 of happy memory elected 
Pope than he and his Curia of Cardinals dissolved the 
Council — in virtue of his supreme power as Pope. And in 
spite of the general wish for reform, Pope Martin of hap- 
py, memory returned to Rome where he again reassembled 
all the elements of Papal temporal power. Remark welll 
At this time there had been no Reformation, no Martin 
Luther, no revolt, no splintering of Christian unityl If a 
harsh decision could have been faced, think of the greater 
harshness — the pain, bloodshed, and suffering — that would 
have been avoided. 

"But the hard, hard decision was refused once more. The 
Pope could only envisage his spiritual authority within the 
framework of land, money, diplomatic prestige, and polit- 
ical clout. 

"Almost one hundred years later, in the middle of Lu- 
ther's revolt Pope Clement 7 found himself stripped com- 
pletely of all that temporal power, and under siege in Castel 
San Angelo together with a few weeping Cardinals. Their 
tears were for the loss of their grandeur to the conquering 
Imperial Armies that had occupied the Vatican and Rome 
and Italy and Europe. The Vatican with its Treasury, the 
states and properties of the Pope in Rome, in Italy, in 
Sicily, in France, and elsewhere, were all in the hands of 
an irresistible sacrilegious, armed enemy. 

"Again, it was suggested that all would be well if His 
Holiness and his Curia would renounce all the temporal 
power they had lost. 


"What happened? 

Tope Clement signed an agreement to pay for his own 
ransom and thus to escape from San Angelo. From outside 
Rome, he again assembled enough money, prestige, and 
armaments — in short, enough temporal power — so that 
eventually he was restored to his throne. And he handed 
on to his successor a Church whose spiritual authority 
again relied on temporal power. 

*The hard, hard decision was again refused. No Pope 
could bring himself willingly to rely for his authority sole- 
ly on the promise of our Lord Jesus. 

"I would tire Your Eminences and all my dearest listen- 
ers if I were to go over in great detail the other examples. 
But did not His Holiness Pius 6 of happy memory and His 
Holiness Pope Pius 7 of happy memory face the same 
decision? And did they not fight tooth and nail, and suc- 
cessfully, for that temporal power? And was not that a 
refusal on their part — all in good conscience, of course — 
to take that very, very hard decision? 

"And when His Holiness Pius 9 of holy and happy mem- 
ory refused to leave the Vatican in 1870, thus becoming 
instead its famed 'Prisoner,' was he not also refusing to 
take that hard decision? 

"And, even when in 1929, His Holiness Pope Pius 11 of 
blessed memory signed the Lateran Concordat with the 
Italian Government, renouncing the Papal power lost in 
1870 and accepting huge financial indemnities for those 
losses, was he not also refusing the same hard decision? 

"In sum, insofar as Popes and Churchmen have insisted 
on wrapping the exercise of their spiritual power — that 
power of Peter — in the panoply and panache and might of 
money, diplomacy, political influence, and vested interests, 
have they not all of them refused that hard, hard, very, 
very hard decision? 

"And, My Brother Cardinals, have not we, each one of 
us, tasted that power one way or another? And is it not 
sweet to the taste? And is it not difficult to relinquish? And 
is it not very easy to rationalize it, and to conclude that it 
is a felt necessity for our spiritual mission — when in real- 
ity we know in our heart of hearts that it degrades, makes 
impure, and finally divagates our spiritual intentions? Eh? 
Is it not so? 

"A difficult question, My Brothers! And a painful ques- 
tion, My Brothers! But a question we must ask. A question 

The Time Before Conclave 121 

we must answer. Without any denigration of that long line 
of illustrious men, all 262 of them — for I omit the Blessed 
Apostle Peter from my remarks — who were called by 
Jesus to be his Vicars, and who died with the vision of the 
Crucified in front of their eyes and in their spirits. No! No 

"But let us hear their voices now speaking to us with all 
the wisdom of centuries' hindsight, and with the unflawed 
illumination from the Light of file eternal God's own face. 
For, My Brothers, we have very few alternatives today, 
surrounded as we are by new structures and unheard-of 
adjustments in our modern world. 

"New forma of life are coming into existence around us 
— all of them shot through with a new mental, psychical, 
and spiritual outlook. And, as they take their place in the 
skein of human society, the dark-faced angels of despair, 
of rage, of impotence, of atheism, of mercilessness, wrap 
each one of them in gloom and threat, so that they are 
confused at each juncture by double knots of doubt and 

"For us, Electors, our common task is to strip off those 
wrappings, unravel those knots, discover new resurrections 
for the Church, and reveal new joys for all the sons and 
daughters of our common and Universal Father, God the 
Awesome, God the Loving. 

"The voices of all past Popes and Saints say to us now, 
surely: 'Listen not to the voice of the banker, not to the 
voice of the broker, not to the voice of the prince-bishop 
or the ambitious Cardinal, not to the dynastic family, not 
to the money-changers, not to the monopoly-managers, 
but to the voice of Jesus speaking from the masses of our 
human family. You, our descendants in spirit, have com- 
passion on the errors we made, and imitate us in what we 
should have done, and not in what we did/ 

"Make no mistake, Most Eminent Brethren! That very 
hard decision so often offered, so often refused, comes up 
once more today. It stands stock still on the doorstep of 
Conclave 82. ringing insistently, demanding to be allowed 
in, to be answered. 

"If we do not allow it entry, then we leave the great 
God Himself standing on time's doorstep, where He will 
wait patiently for another generation and a subsequent 
race of men and women. For this has been God's decision 
in the Lord Jesus: to be with humans and to remain with 


us until He finally splinters the husk of time in which our 
Church's history and the whole human story has been 
wrapped, and this world ceases. 

"But, if we were to act in that way, we would have failed. 
We will be forgiven surely. But we will have failed. For, 
more than any of the superpowers, more than any other 
institution on earth, we have to answer those devastating 
queries human beings are now asking us: *Are you people 
really the messengers of the Holy Spirit? Have you people 
your own weapons of spirit? Your own moral power? Or 
are you merely more than ordinarily clever power-brokers, 
preying on our hopes, capitalizing on our broken dreams? 
We know who you say Jesus was. But tell us: Who are 
you? What are you?' Thus, the hard, hard queries of our 

"If, however, we open the door of our Conclave, and 
admit that hard decision among us, if we allow it entry in 
our midst, we will most certainly have hard thoughts to 
think, hard words to exchange with each other, hard ac- 
tions to discuss and contemplate. 

"If we persevere, My Eminent Brothers, in the mystery 
of innocent trust, and with the power of enthusiasm, we 
will be able to turn to our world in all its confusion of 
peace and war, of birth and death, of love and hate, hope 
and despair, of joy and sorrow, of youth and old age, turn 
to it and say: 'We have the Good News for you and for 
ourselves! Listen to us, please!' 

"And we will tell them in accents they will understand 
and in words they will not doubt: 'Whatever Jesus touches 
has meaning. And he has touched us all. Each one of us. 
And our Church. And this Vatican. And this Rome. And 
Italy. And this human universe. We are not sown into 
time like so much corn. And this universe is not adrift 
on seas themselves adrift in ever vaster oceans that wallow 
in their turn among fathomless deeps. For the Word was 
made Flesh and dwelt among us. And all Flesh has seen 
His glory.' 

"May the good Lord bless us all. I have finished. 


The Time Before Conclave 123 


After the Exhortation, everyone moves from the Sistine 
to the Pauline Chapel. There, the service personnel of the 
Conclave are sworn in. Their oath of office concerns the 
secret of the Conclave and the performance of their duties. 
In the presence of all the Cardinal Electors, and of the 
visitors, each one of the personnel and participants comes 
forward singly and swears: 

"I promise and swear to perform my duties 

diligently and religiously, according to the rules laid 
down by the Supreme Pontiffs and the norms drawn 
up by the Sacred College of Cardinals." 

Then, laying his hand on the Gospels, he adds: "So help 
me God and this Holy Gospel which I touch with my 

The Cardinal Electors and Conclave personnel then re- 
main in the Pauline Chapel while all visitors and guests 
are asked to leave. The Camerlengo, with three other 
Cardinals at his side, makes sure that no unauthorized 
persons remain. At the same time, across St. Peter's Square 
in the "Upper Room" of the Nervi, and at the Domus 
Mariae about a mile away, the same precautions are taken 
by officials delegated by the Camerlengo and his ad hoc 
Committee of Governing Cardinals. The electronic sur- 
veillance officials also check all three locations. 

The Conclave is not officially and legally in existence 
until all three places are secure and the Camerlengo has 
personally received word from the Nervi and the Domus 
Mariae confirming that no unauthorized person or persons 
are within the limits of the Conclave area in the Nervi 
and the Domus Mariae, and that the surveillance teams 
are satisfied that all is secure. The Cardinal Electors may 
then leave the Chapel to await a warning bell announcing 
to them that within twenty minutes the Preliminary Session 
of Conclave 82 will be held in the Sistine. 


The Opening Evening 

6:45 p.m.-7:00 p.m. 

On the first evening of Conclave 82, as soon as all the 
Conclave personnel have taken the oath to preserve the 
secrecy of the Conclave, the Camerlengo has a few short 
words to say to them before they gather in the Preliminary 
Session. In quiet, distinctly pronounced Latin, he says sim- 
ply: "My Lord Cardinals, we have about twenty minutes 
before our preliminary meeting which, as you know, will 
be held in the Sistine Chapel. Let us commence our work 
with trust in God's blessing and guidance. I hope that 
your accommodations are to your satisfaction, and that 
our daily assemblies in the Nervi Hall will be fruitful and 
rapid." He glances at the young Monsignore at his side. 
"Mons ignore will be here constantly to help you in any 
way possible." 

Except for rare occasions in Conclave Sessions, that 
measured and quiet tone of voice is the unwritten rule of 
Conclave talk and behavior. Low-key. Unhurried. Con- 
fident. Dispassionate. Understated. In contrast, outside the 
Sessions, Electors will communicate as they wish — vehe- 
mently, passionately. 

Now, as the Camerlengo "finishes, the Cardinals start to 
leave the Chapel and gather outside its main doors. As 
they do, the Conclave bell rings with a sharp middle- 
pitched tone; it is now 6:45 p.m. In a quarter of an hour 
the opening gathering of Conclave 82 will take place. 

Outside in the wide corridor, flanked by high frescoed 
walls and ceiling, the Cardinals tarry awhile. Most of 
them have studied their schedule. One or two ask a neigh- 
bor what the bell means, but mostly as a means of reliev- 
ing tension or breaking the ice. Cardinals Kand, Franzus, 



and Ni Kan move up to the Camerlengo who has stopped 
to chat with Delacoste and Borromini. The three have 
something to ask the Camerlengo. Delacoste and Borromini 
leave. Bending down from his gawky height to listen to the 
three Cardinals, the Camerlengo nods vigorously. Then 
he bows in the general direction of all, gives a quick look 
of recognition to a few better-known faces, nods to his 
young assistant Monsignore who will stay and answer 
queries, and then disappears down the corridor to his own 
quarters, followed by Kand, Franzus, and Ni Kan. 

Two or three small groups of Cardinals stay chatting. 
Calder and Eakins of the United States are with Bonkow- 
ski of Poland. A group of Latin Americans — Lynch and 
Ribera among them — are talking excitedly with the Spanish 
Cardinals. Over in one corner, Hopper of Africa and some 
British Commonwealth Cardinals — Hartley and Copley — 
are listening to Coutinho and the other Indians, Chera, 
Desai, Constable. The Italians are in small knots of six or 
seven around two or three key figures — old, battlesome 
Riccioni, the ebullient Lombardi, and Domenico of Rome. 

Gradually, as everyone drifts off, the young Monsignore 
is left alone there, the silence growing around him. When 
all are gone, he opens one of the doors into the Sistine 
Chapel to check once more that all is ready. He smiles as 
he notices the slight figure kneeling at the righthand side 
of the Altar. "Domenico!" he murmurs to himself. "Who 

He closes the door quietly and walks off down the cor- 
ridor to the Camerlengo's office. 

Outside in the Courtyard of San Damaso, two guards on 
duty walk back and forth in front of the main doors that 
lead to the Sistine Chapel area. At the Courtyard entrance, 
Prince Chigi, Marshal of the Conclave, gives final instruc- 
tions to his aides. The white and yellow Papal flag has 
been lowered since the death of Paul 6, and will not be 
raised again until the new Pope is named some two or 
three days from now. The Chigi family flag flies in its 
place. Prince Chigi enters a limousine waiting nearby and 
departs through the arch of the Courtyard gate, across St. 
Peter's Square, over the Tiber by San Angelo Bridge, and 
on to the Chigi Palace and dinner. 

At the upper end of the Square, near the steps of St. 

The Final Conclave 129 

Peter's, a crowd of tourists — sightseeing Romans, nuns, 
priests, some TV camera crews with their equipment- 
still linger as though unwilling to see the end of the excite- 
ment and the pomp of the Conclave opening. High up in 
a rented apartment on the Via della Conciliazione, which 
leads directly into St. Peter's Square, two men sit at a 
table console, now and again turning a knob, and listening 
to the radio transmission. After a few minutes, one of 
them rises, goes to the telephone and rings a number. 
When he gets an answer, he says merely: "Contact is 
established and continuous. Control is exact." 

In the city, nightlife is starting. The restaurants in the 
Piazza Navona and along the Via Veneto are filling up with 
people. Up and around the Spanish Steps and along the 
Corso, the boy pickpockets and the teenage prostitutes min- 
gle with the strolling crowds. Abroad, Papal Nuncios and 
Delegates in Washington, London, Paris, Buenos Aires, and 
other capitals inform their host governments that the Con- 
clave has begun. Radio, television, and newspapers around 
the world announce the same message. 

Quiet envelops St. Peter's and the Apostolic Palace. 
Cardinal Domenico prays in the Sistine. "Lord Jesus, look 
on us all mercifully. You promised to be with us for all 
days and that all the forces of Satan would not destroy 
your Church. Help us now. Help your Church. We cannot 
help ourselves. We do not know what to do. We lack the in- 
sight of love and the greatness of humility. Those who 
should be our brothers are our enemies. Those we should 
shun are our allies. Help us, Lord Jesus. Help us all. Help 
our brothers. Help those whom we do not help but merely 
use. Help us, Lord Jesus. ..." 

The young Monsignore reaches the Camerlengo's office. 
Kand and Ni Kan have already gone. They and Cardinal 
Franzus had all arrived in Rome barely in time for the start 
of Conclave and, unlike most of the other 118 Cardinal 
Electors, had not received all the Position Papers before 
their arrival. Kand did not receive them because the Vat- 
ican knows it cannot depend on anything remaining con- 
fidential in his Communist country; Ni Kan, because of a 
prolonged absence from Hong Kong and Taiwan during 
which he could not be reached — the rumor is that he un- 


dertook a secret mission to Peking for Pope Paul; Franzus, 
because the Vatican did not trust him wholly. 

Kand and Ni Kan have taken their copies of the Position 
Papers from the Camerlengo and gone to heed his advice: 
"Go and read them with some other Cardinals who have had 
time to peruse them carefully; in this way you can get the 
bones of each Paper before the First Session in the morn- 

Only Franzus has remained behind. As he enters the 
room, the Monsignore detects a little heat. Franzus is ask- 
ing the Camerlengo for "the other reports." Heat in the 
grave decorum of the Conclave is detectable by the rigid 
politeness of extreme formality and the unsmiling eyes of 

The Camerlengo regrets he has no other reports to give 
the Most Eminent Cardinal. 

In that case, what the other Most Eminent Electors are 
saying must be inaccurate. 

"Well, then, if we understand each other. . . ." There is 
no need for the Camerlengo to finish the sentence, except 
to give his smile, well-known in Rome — it speaks volumes 
and conceals volumes. 

Franzus does not smile. But his tone is always measured. 
**I understand exactly and precisely." 

The Camerlengo knows that this is only a preliminary to 
round one with Franzus and others. "It has started al- 
ready," the Monsignore hears him mutter after Franzus 
has left. 

The 6:55 p.m. warning-bell rings. The young Monsi- 
gnore goes out. He will signal the Camerlengo when all the 
Electors are present in the Chapel. 

The Sistine Chapel is well-lit by six extra lamps intro- 
duced for the occasion. As the Cardinals take their seats, 
there is a quiet but very apparent sensation of excitement 
and gusto. Most have never been in Conclave before. The 
few who have had that experience undergo a certain fore- 
boding. The stakes are high, much higher this time than 

The lines of seated Cardinals beneath the huge ceiling 
of the Sistine are not dwarfed by the enormous height but 
rather seem set there as if all the beauty and dignity and 
awesomeness of that Chapel were made to encase them 
forever. Each Cardinal Elector settles down, gazes quietly 
around, now and again looking up toward the High Altar, 

The Final Conclave 131 

gesturing in recognition to some friend or glancing at the 
walls. The purple and white robes that each of them wears 
seem the most natural accompaniments to the cascading 
hues and tints of Michelangelo's frescoes of God creating 
Adam, of the Deluge, of Eve's Creation, of the Last Judg- 
ment, and of Godhead. 

The Preliminary Session 

Shortly after 7:00 p.m., the Camerlengo enters accom- 
panied by two Cardinal-Assistants. All stand. The young 
Monsignore remains outside, closes and locks the doors, 
and sits down at a small table to wait and watch. He can 
hear nothing of the proceedings inside. 

The Camerlengo goes to the center of the sanctuary at 
the far end of the Chapel, kneels for a moment before the 
High Altar, then rises and goes to his seat at the center of 
the Presidents' long table placed facing the Cardinals. 

More than one Camerlengo emerging from earlier Con- 
claves has told of this moment: of the effect that first 
glimpse of the assembled Cardinals has had on him. All 
eyes are upon him. He has arranged this Conclave. He, as 
no other man, knows the interests, the passions, the issues 
at stake. He has made necessarily arbitrary decisions that 
will affect the course of the Conclave, and so of the Church 
of Jesus, in many ways. 

The Camerlengo's Conclave is unlike most recent ones 
in some important respects. The robes of the Cardinals are 
the same. It is the faces that are different. Black, white, 
yellow. And their minds are different. But even in ordinary 
Conclaves, it is the concentration of responsibility that 
suddenly strikes the Camerlengo, as he faces "his" Con- 
clave in its first moments. In 1939, when Cardinal Pacelli, 
as Camerlengo, turned to face the Cardinals, they saw 
beads of perspiration forming on the forehead of that ex- 
perienced, arrogant, and utterly self-confident Vatican dip- 

Odd, one would think, for men so used to power. But 
Conclave is different, even for such men as these. "Noth- 
ing, for that moment," wrote Cardinal Anton elli in the nine- 
teenth century, "nothing stands between us and the Lord 
Jesus. All our lives we have someone above us — our par- 
ents, the priest, the Superior, the Cardinal, the Pope. But 
now, nobody. Until we have a Pope, this is it. And we are 


it An appeal from us for help can reach no higher author- 
ity. We stand at the brink of the chasm between what is 
lauman and what is divine." 

The Camerlengo stands now before the Cardinals who, 
as they wait for him to speak, see above his head the figure 
of Jesus coming in the Last Judgment as Michelangelo 
painted it. The Camerlengo betrays his feelings only by a 
little tic at the left corner of his mouth. He now has a 
maximum of fifteen or twenty minutes to get things mov- 
ing. This preliminary meeting is not a Conclave Session. It 
is meant to introduce the Conclave, its issues and its main 
candidates. The Camerlengo goes through the documents, 
schedules, and the list of Position Papers already in the 
Electors' possession, quickly noting for the assembly any 
minor changes, apologizing for any inconveniences in their 
living quarters, and going over some practical matters such 
as provision for special diets, the names of the priest-con- 
fessors at the Electors' disposal, the activities of the sur- 
veillance technicians who will be found at irregular periods 
checking the security. 

There then follows his formal presentation of this Con- 
clave 82 and its issues. It is in part a review of what most 
Cardinal Electors know already. And, in part, it is an ex- 
pression of his own conclusions as Camerlengo. 

"Within the last few months, Most Reverend Lord Car- 
dinals, there has been general agreement on some important 
headings, all of which makes our task perhaps a little 
easier here." He glances down at his agenda page. "As you 
can see from the Position Papers on the state of the world 
and from the General Framework Paper, we have what we 
can call a common outlook based on a relentless and reli- 
able analysis of the Church's condition. Where we differ — 
divided in no less than five ways, unfortunately but not 
irreparably — is how to deal with this condition. No agree- 
ment has been possible on this point, hitherto. 

"Now, as Your Excellencies know, there are three Posi- 
tion Papers drawn up exclusively by us here in Rome, out- 
lining my own recommendations on the basis of our 
information and experience. One of these Papers concerns 
the events and the major consequences of the Pontificate 
of my Reverend Lord, Pope Paul 6. The second sums up 
what we see in hindsight is the total effect until now of the 
Second Vatican Council and its decrees. This second is 
naturally, logically I might say, intertwined with the first 

The Fined Conclave 1 33 

Paper on Pope Paul's reign, since His Holiness presided 
during the years just following the Council. The third Pa- 
per details what we in Rome see as the dominant move- 
ment of our age. I would wish all of us, Reverend Brothers, 
to have read these Papers thoroughly before the First 
Session tomorrow. Back-up documentation may be had on 

"As for candidates, we are acquainted with the initial 
listing of nine candidates as of 1975. That list has been re- 
duced — reasonably, I think — to five. And my Lord Car- 
dinals Masaccio, Vasari, Yiu, Ferro, and Lowe are the 
names the majority of you agreed should be put forward 
as most likely to obtain the necessary majority for election. 
All this without prejudice to the possibility that the Holy 
Spirit will inspire us all to elect still another as the next 
Pontiff. Fot, in our present condition of mind, even if we 
took six ballotings right now, you all know as well as I do 
that we would not reach an agreement. Again, that funda- 
mental point divides us : how to deal with the present crisis. 
For crisis it is." He pauses, then corrects himself. "At least 
for a large majority of Electors," His eyes light for a brief 
second on Cardinal Thule. 

"Our points of agreement are as follows. 
"A large majority hold the next Pontiff should be Italian. 
Some wish a Pontiff of non-Roman, non-Curial character. 
But this can be settled by compromise. 

"All are agreed that ideally his Pontificate should be at 
least ten years in duration — although on this point, we can 
only do our best. Life and death are usually beyond our 
reach." The Camerlengo grins slightly, then continues. 
"And, finally, all agree that he should be theologian, 
teacher, and leader, not so much a politician, an activist, a 

"Beyond that we begin to disagree on the type of Pontiff 
who is best fitted to lead in the midst of the turmoil and 
danger now besetting the Church. And we differ on this 
point because we cannot, finally, agree among ourselves on 
what is happening to the Church, on what type of Churchly 
organization we ought to develop. We therefore cannot 
make up our minds and agree on what role the next Pope 
should play. And, hence, our deadlock. For, as our habit 
of acting dictates, first we determine the policy lines of the 
next Pontificate. Then, we elect the next Pope." 

The Camerlengo stops here. He would sorely like to con- 


tinue. But the rules of his role as Camerlengo forbid him 
to do more than present the issues. He has, however, one 
unusual step to take. He looks long and hard at his notes, 
then lifts his eyes and runs a quick glance around: "I 
crave your indulgence, Excellencies, while I humbly make 
a suggestion. In view of the deep importance of the situa- 
tion, and of our own disunity on this grave point of policy 
lines, after having consulted with the Preparatory Com- 
mittee of Cardinals, I decided that at this initial meeting it 
would be advisable to let one spokesman for each of the 
major groups have a word with you, so that none of us be 
in the dark as regards our central point of disagreement." 
The Camerlengo gazes around the Chapel. Most heads nod 
in agreement. Some faces are staring at him, impassive, 
some brooding, some puzzled, one or two in obvious revolt. 
But he has the majority. He continues. 

"The spokesmen are, in order of Cardinalitial seniority, 
My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Riccioni of the South; 
My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Thule; My Most Eminent 
Lord Cardinal Lynch; My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal 
Bassano; and My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Domenico." 
As he names each one he looks at them. The Camerlengo is 
known to be able to convey diametrically opposite senti- 
ments with the same smile. "Each one of My Most Em- 
inent Cardinals will confine his remarks to a period of ten 
minutes. After eight minutes have elapsed, the Reverend 
Cardinal will be notified that he has yet two minutes to 
wind up his remarks. Please, My Most Eminent Cardinals! 
Please! Ten minutes!" Then — with a smile — facing toward 
the Cardinal: "My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Giuseppe 

Riccioni walks down past the long table of the Presi- 
dents, kneels a moment at the Altar to say a short prayer, 
as all the speakers will do, then turns, advances to the table 
at which the Camerlengo sits, and faces the Electors. 

"What I have to say, Most Eminent Brothers, will not 
take ten minutes. 

*T represent a solid number of you from Europe, Africa, 
and the Americas. We are of the opinion that the next 
Pontiff must be a man of iron discipline who knows how 
to command, how to punish, how to maintain order, how 
to cut off the rotten branches, how to hold on to the deposit 
of faith." 

There is at this point a certain rustle among the Electors 

The Final Conclave 135 

— feet being shuffled as the Cardinals straighten up in their 
places, papers up to now held in the hand being laid down 
on the little tables in front of each throne. Riccioni has 
their ears. All sense the battle being joined between the 
old Churck represented by Riccioni, and the new Church 
of the Progressivists. 

"I have read the Summary Report on the late Pontificate. 
I have only one point of disagreement. We, I should say, 
have only one point of disagreement with its authors. The 
paper concludes that the policy of Pope Paul vacillated be- 
tween two extremes: rigid adherence to certain doctrinal 
points like priestly celibacy, contraception, the Devil; and 
openness on certain other more pragmatic circumstances — 
the Vatican Ostpolitik, the innovations in the Liturgy, chal- 
lenges to the teaching authority of the Church. 

"I do not agree that the Pope merely vacillated." Ric- 
cioni's voice hardens and his eyes narrow. "I think that we 
had some fourteen years of destruction, of permitted de- 
cay." Riccioni pauses. He wants to shock people out of 
complacency. "I think," he goes on, his voice deepening in 
disgust, "I think we may speak of the Devil let loose in the 
vineyard of the Lord." 

A low murmur becomes audible — remarks are passed 
from one Cardinal to another. 

Riccioni raises his voice, still calm and now almost dis- 
passionate: "I know. I know. But look at the conclusions 
in the Position Papers. I remember! All of you remember 
what His Holiness Paul 6 did say: The Church seems des- 
tined to die/ Those Position Papers show a bleak picture. 
And even though they are not with us today, I want to 
remind you that those trusted watchdogs of the faith, My 
Lord Cardinals Ottaviani and di Jorio, are with us in our 

Those Cardinals, both over eighty years of age, can no 
longer participate in Conclave. But their influence is still 
huge over many younger Cardinals in Conclave 82. A 
short time ago these older men held all power. And Ric- 
cioni is reminding everyone that within Vatican life they 
still have to reckon with these powerful men. 

"None of us, none of these experienced Churchmen, 
think the Church is destined to die, or even seems so. My 
Lord Cardinals, we need a Pontiff who will hear the Lord 
Jesus saying: 'All the force of Satan will not prevail against 
my Church/ and: 'I will be with you all days, even to the 


end of time/ And we need a Pontiff who will act so as to 
preserve the life of the Church," This is the closest anyone 
dares come to an open condemnation of Paul 6. All realize 
that whatever candidate Riccioni recommends will be ex- 
pected to clamp down on all the changes made by Pope 
Paul, and to restore the Church to the way it was before 
Pope John 23. 

"It is for this reason that I and others propose as can- 
didate My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Vasari. And I beg 
Your Eminences to consider his record, hear his advices, 
and examine his candidacy carefully. I am delegated to 
deal with any adaptations and commitments in his name 
and in the name of this group. I have spoken. I thank 
Your Eminences." 

Riccioni turns to step away from the table, then pauses, 
glances at the Camerlengo as if to say, one more word, if 
you please. He speaks with intensity and feeling — looking 
steadily in the direction of Cardinal Thule now — "Neither 
lives nor ideas nor ambitions — even if we have identified 
our own ideas and ambitions with the Church's condition 
— nothing matters but the Church. I thank Your Em- 

With a solemn face, Riccioni makes his way to his place. 

"My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Otto Thule of the 
East!" The Camerlengo almost grimaces in his effort to 
smile at Thule. All the years, Thule's piety has interfered 
mightily with the Camerlengo's plans and his almost geo- 
metric approach to theology and religion and faith. In 
whatever post the Camerlengo was, Thule was sure to be 
the opponent of the policies the Camerlengo espoused. 

Standing now not two feet from his powerful enemy, the 
Camerlengo, and facing his fellow-Cardinals, Thule gives 
the impression that there is absolutely no trouble, no dis- 
cord, between him and the others. This is Thule's hour — if 
ever. He has worked hard days and long months for it, 
traveled, lectured, written, engaged in discussions. The 
craggy, leonine face is utterly serious. Thule's heavy-lidded 
eyes, normally unsmiling, fully staring, are now sharply 
illuminated. His look is one of deep reverence, the awed 
expression of a man who sees the chasms of destruction 
opening at his feet on either side, but keeps his eyes on the 
shining mountain top ahead. 

As he speaks, those who have not known Thule are sur- 
prised that such a bulky, heavy-faced, broad-shouldered 

The Fined Conclave 137 

man can exert such softness to temper the steel in the tones 
of his voice. *'My Lord Cardinals, I bring you today the 
tidings which millions of Christians in our Church, in every 
Church, even those outside the Churches, our Jewish 
brothers, our Buddhist and Hindu and Muslim brothers, 
have already heard. Never before were so many diverse 
people of our globe willing to confess that 'Jesus is Lord.' 
The gentle, overpowering voice of the Spirit!" 

This is enough to keynote all Thule will say. Many of 
ids listeners need to hear only one overtone in Thule's voice 
— it is the faintest trace of a rasp — and to catch the per- 
sistent gleam in his eye — it is the spark of the dedicated 
fanatic — to be reminded of what the late Cardinal Tisserant 
said of Easterners: "If we Latins have fire, it is in our 
hearts. But the Easterners have fire in their brains." Thule 
is an Easterner. His brain can burn and explode. 

Whether they remember Tisserant's words or not, every- 
one quickly understands the deep commitment this man 
has made to all he is saying. "All over the world we know 
there is a vast revolution. As the Most Reverend Camer- 
lengo pointed out, we differ only as to our interpretation 
of it. Many, especially those I speak for today, believe — or, 
better still, know — that this is the hour of the Spirit. Old 
walls are coming down. Old prejudices are disappearing. 
We are all in malaise, like voyagers about to step willy- 
nilly onto the deck of a strange ship for a journey on un- 
charted seas toward an utterly new and completely unknown 
continent. The very skies are opened up to man; and, some 
suspect, alien voices are trying to speak to us from beyond 
our galaxy. 

"Now, what Christians have lacked is being accom- 
plished. Unity! My Brothers! I myself am of the center. 
But some years ago, I decided to exert special care for our 
non-Catholic brethren and also for those Catholics who 
no longer felt at ease within our institutional Church. 
Somebody had to walk on the waters. With trust. And not 
sink. The institutional Church — what we represent — and 
all believers are one and the same. God forbid that we 
should abandon any part of the Church." 

Thule pauses, gazes around at all the faces. He has 
touched some chord in Makonde whose eyes are shining. 
Others, Riccioni among them, are looking askance at Thule. 
A majority are plainly fascinated. 

"Trust, Most Eminent Brothers. Trust. We must trust 


the Spirit. It is no longer a question of whether we break 
with the past. The Lord himself has broken us away from 
it. We must open our hearts." His tone rises with excite- 
ment "Our hearts! And our minds. Our minds! We need 
to take a vast step. One vast gigantic step! In tune and in 
step with men and women across our cherished world. No 
one of us wants a repetition of the Papal captivity that 
Pius 9 chose in 1870. No one of us can. No one of us 
wants the Church of Constantine." His right hand pushes 
away some invisible obstacle; the voice is categoric. "That 
is all done and finished. Pope John 23 said: 'We must 
return to the simplicity the Church had when it left the 
hands of Jesus Christ.' No doubt about this!" 

Then, lowering his voice for the drama of the contrast, 
and saying each word very slowly and distinctly: "With 
Your Eminences' permission, I humbly propose as candi- 
date My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Lowe." A pause. 
Then, still calmly: "You have his documents. You know 
his history. You know what he thinks on the subjects of 
our discussions. He is a foremost ecumenist. He is in favor 
of an utterly open Church. You know the appeal of his 
voice and name for the Protestant Churches in Europe and 
America. His motto is 'Unity in Christ.' And we need 
unity. Unity based on unanimity. Absolute unanimity. The 
oneness of one concordant voice. 

"In recent years, my Venerable Brothers, we have seen 
the possibility even of an anti-Pope. Yes! An anti-Pope!" 
This reference to the rebellious Archbishop Lefebvre is 
completely understood by every man present. 

But many also remember how Thule made his own bids 
to outflank and out-Pope Pope Paul 6 — once through his 
efforts to obtain the powerful post of Secretary of State; 
another time by his tremendous but unsuccessful effort to 
assemble a gigantic international congress of the Church 
and thus outmaneuver Pope Paul in that way. Even now, 
there are some here who see the frequent international 
meetings of Thule's religious movements as a new and 
escalating effort to call a People's General Council of the 
Church. And what, some have asked behind closed doors 
and in private letters, would the Vatican do if Thule pre- 
sided over an international meeting of Bishops and Cardi- 
nals, with priests and laity from all over the Roman Church? 
Supposing they took some weighty decisions — say, to ordain 
some Catholic women. Would that be schism? Would Thule 

The Final Conclave 139 

then in effect be an anti-Pope? Supposing they elected an 
"international" People's Pope? 

But all know that Thule's warning of the danger of an 
anti-Pope is directed at Lefebvre — and at Cardinals Ric- 
cioni and Vasari and their Traditionalist supporters here 
and in the Vatican. Thule's horror of Lefebvre is almost 
pathological. The entire Traditionalist movement spear- 
headed by Lefebvre bodes death for all Thule stands for. 

Lowe looks at Thule, throws a look at a few friends who 
smile back, then folds his lower lip over his upper lip — a 
characteristic trait of his that, some say, indicates his stub- 

Thule ends swiftly now, on a simple note: "My Lord 
Cardinals! There is much to discuss, much to explore. I 
and those who stand with my point of view are ready to 
enter into the deepest discussions with any of you. We feel 
strongly we have the voice of the Holy Spirit with us. We 
feel that the Church is just about to be born again in a 
new guise before all menl" He stands for a moment's si- 
lence. Again, the soulful look. "I thank Your Eminences!" 
As he strides back to his place he nods to some colleagues. 
He is flushed with exertion, satisfied. Apart from anything 
else, Thule is one of the best orators among the Cardinals. 
He knows this, feels his power. He touches Lowe lightly on 
the shoulder, and they both smile pleasantly. The Camer- 
lengo's face is a study in expressionlessness. 

Now his voice rings out as he announces the next 
speaker: "My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Paul Lynch!" 
The Camerlengo announces the name without a, trace of 
effort or emotion in his voice; and he is not smiling — even 
conventionally; he stares at Lynch, at the bland face of the 
man moving forward now at a leisurely pace. Only some 
here today know the behind-the-scenes struggle the Camer- 
lengo has waged with this man, how Lynch supported the 
Marxists, how he has opposed the present right-wing regime 
in his own country, and how the Camerlengo nearly went 
berserk over the endless stream of telegrams and dis- 
patches between Rome and the Cardinal's home town as 
Rome unsuccessfully tried to curb Lynch, and as the previ- 
ous Pope, Paul 6, defended Lynch and curbed the Camer- 

The Camerlengo had placed a watch-dog on Lynch: a 
veteran Vatican diplomat, experienced Churchman, a genu- 
ine Roman, the Papal Nuncio in the area. But the Nuncio 


turned out to be impotent in this situation. Lynch had too 
many contacts; and, anyway, a Papal Nuncio could do 
very little against a Cardinal in the Cardinal's own terri- 
tory, "What can you do when he has a majority of Jesuits 
and Dominicans, priests and nuns, as well as government 
officials and lay people, fighting his battles for him?" the 
Nuncio had once complained to a reproving Camerlengo 
during one of his periodic visits to Rome. 

Lynch's prayer at the High Altar is brief and he appears 
uneasy. When he turns to address the Conclave, his nor- 
mally pale face seems deathly white. Not the white of fear 
but the bloodless expression of severely felt emotion. 

Contrary to what many expect, Lynch's tones are calm, 
his language slow and deliberate. "Eminent Brothers," 
Lynch says as he turns his head from side to side to take 
in both rows of Cardinals, "an ancient Roman once lifted 
the fold in his cloak and said to Rome's enemies with 
whom he was discussing the future relations of their two 
countries: 'I hold peace and war, life and death, in this 
fold of my Roman cloak. Which will you choose today? 
You can have either.' We know from history that his en- 
emies chose war. And they perished." The very Hispanic 
accentuation of his words seems to create a peculiar si- 
lence of attention. 

"Today, the people of this world are mired in the deep 
fold of their misery and pain, their want and insistence on 
justice. Men and women and children, all ask us the same 
question. Three-fifths of them go to bed hungry every 
night, get up in subhuman living conditions, die from mal- 
nutrition and disease, have no permanent work, much less 
a glimmer of real hope for economic betterment. They cer- 
tainly have no visible alternative to back-breaking, unre- 
warding work, to hunger, to suffering, and no alternative 
to a painful death. And everywhere, they are saying to us 
with one voice: 'It is too much suffering and injustice to 
bear/ And further they say: 'Within this deep fold of our 
poverty and misery and helplessness, we in our vast num- 
bers and in our suffering, we hold an invitation to peace 
or to war. For we must have justice. We must have hope. 
If these precious things shall not be ours in peace, we will 
have them by war. Choosel Youl And we will give you what 
you choose. But we will have justice and hope!' This is the 
voice of the majority of men and women and children to- 

The Final Conclave 141 

The Camerlengo shifts in Ms chair and begins to take 
notes. There is a heavy pause, but no stirring among the 
Cardinals. They are held, as they measure Lynch's words. 

"As Pontiff, we do need an efficient, learned, and pious 
man. True! But he must be one who can be a symbol of 
hope. And more than a symbol! We need someone who 
will not be afraid to accept what His Holiness, Pope John 
23, said: 'The substance of our doctrine is one thing. The 
expression of that substance is quite another.' And, again, 
as the Pope said * 'Philosophical theories remain sometimes. 
But the economic and political conditions which they 
spawned change and develop.' We need a Pontiff who is 
not afraid to ride on the present tide of democratic so- 
cialism. . . ." There are a few murmurs. The Camerlengo 
raises his head but keeps his eyes on his notes, a charac- 
teristic habit of his. "Oh, I know the term 'democratic 
socialism' needs defining. However you define 'democratic 
socialism/ " Lynch insists with a slight touch of anger in 
his voice, "this does not mean we forsake the Church. For 
neither I nor my colleagues will take second place to any- 
one here or throughout the Church in love for that Church 
and for Christ's Gospel. 

'There is a tide in human affairs today; and it cannot 
be turned back. All who do not ride with it will be swept 
away and destroyed by it." 

The Camerlengo is signaling the two-minute warning. 

**My Lord Cardinals, without further explanations and 
in the hope that we will all discourse peacefully, fraternally, 
and come to an understanding of the seriousness in all 
these matters, I wish to propose My Most Reverend Lord 
Cardinal Yiu as candidate for Supreme Pontiff. May God 
help him, help you all, all of us, to see what is happening." 

Youthful-looking fifty-six-year-old Lazarus Hou Lo Yiu, 
a candidate for Supreme Pontiff, a Cardinal at age fifty, is 
neither theologian nor master politician. A simple man 
imbued with the history and culture of his beloved home- 
land, he is known throughout Asia as a dedicated anti- 
Marxist and anti-Communist, an admirer of American 
democratic ideals, and a resourceful tactician in the strug- 
gle taking place between the government of his own coun- 
try and the Leftist groups led by clergy. Nobody really 
knows what Yiu thinks, or so the feeling about him goes. 

Yiu's nomination has made some Cardinals restive and 
has set off a buzzing of whispers throughout the Chapel. 


Why Yiu? Some Cardinals throw looks, askance or approv- 
ing, in Lynch's direction. Others, hunched in their seats, 
are taking rapid notes. Yiu, as Lynch's nominee, is openly 
unpopular with the Conservatives and Traditionalists who 
see him as an unwilling pawn, a sop even, drawn by his 
Third World status into a symbolic stance that smells more 
of world power politics than of compassion for the poor 
and starving. 

Lynch's final two minutes are running out. He does not 
want to let this occasion get away quite yet. He speaks 
again, trying to recapture full attention for his remarks. 
"Without wishing in any way to instill an undue emotion 
into this august Conclave of Most Reverend Electors, or 
to impugn the independence of the Conclave and of Holy 
Mother Church, I have a message to communicate. ..." 

The Camerlengo interrupts, his little silver bell ringing 
insistently. He knows the message. The guts of Lynch's 
proposal is a working alliance between Marxists and Ro- 
man Catholics, a sort of de facto agreement to live and let 
live, even to aid each other, and to settle their own per- 
sonal scores later on. This is what Lynch has talked up 
during the last months. The Camerlengo has more than 
one reason for hoping that such a discussion will never 

The Cardinals who have understood the Camerlengo's 
move have broken out into open conversation, some have 
stood up as if to stretch their legs. Lynch's initiative has 
been taken away. 

Lynch flushes slightly, regains control of himself, then 
walks slowly toward his throne. As he passes, he glances 
quickly at the Asiatic. Yiu's face is immobile, his eyes cast 
down, his hands folded on his lap. 

Even before Lynch reaches his throne, he hears the 
Camerlengo: "My Most Reverend Lord Cardinal Bas- 

The Camerlengo cannot announce the name fast 
enough — anything to redirect attention totally. All he 
needs now is for some revered and irresistible figure to 
stand up and demand his right of "a sentence of rejec- 
tion." A lengthily expressed opinion by one member can 
always be met with a short sentence of rebuttal by some 
opponent. It is then understood that at a later time a full 
rebuttal will be heard. But the point of a "sentence of 
rejection" is that more often than not it provokes a public 

The Final Conclave 143 

outcry among all the Cardinals rejecting then and there 
what has been exposed at length. 

The Camerlengo does not want any such public out- 
burst. Not that he shares Lynch's viewpoint. But he fears 
that such a violent rejection could provoke a swift reac- 
tion among Lynch's supporters. Franzus, Buff, others, 
would be on their feet demanding equal time. Order would 
be disrupted. Passions would be naked. Real, open, fac- 
tional infighting could ensue. Positions harden, compromise 
becomes difficult or impossible. And that could mean 
trouble, a lengthening Conclave, and other possible dan- 
gers. Indeed, the Camerlengo 's plans as Camerlengo do not 
include any prolonged public discussion of Lynch's main 
proposal. In such a discussion, inevitably everyone would 
learn of the behind-the-scenes dealings with the U.S.S.R., 
of Franzus' involvement in it all, and of many more deli- 
cate matters. 

As Cardinal Bassano makes his way forward, the Camer- 
lengo seeks out Cardinal Franzus with his eyes. Yes, 
Franzus has got the point. Franzus is looking steadily 
through those thick spectacles at him, his eyes shining with 
understanding but not with satisfaction. The Camerlengo 
coughs and looks down again at his notes. Franzus knows 
too much. Who told Franzus about those "other reports"? 
Bassano kneels a moment and prays. Now he begins: 
"Most Reverend and Most Eminent Lords, my Brothers in 
Christ, Illustrious Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic 
and Apostolic Church — w Bassano's mellifluous Italianate 
voice oozes in around the Camerlengo's thoughts. Cardinal 
Calder of the U.S. looks over at his friend, Cardinal Artel, 
and then settles down on his throne as if to escape the 
cascade of calming rhetoric he expects. Artel smiles, as 
only Artel can smile. 

Bassano's words are brimming with piety and faith and 
dignity. In his heart of hearts, he is a Traditionalist. But 
for a while now, he has been at loggerheads with his own 
faction. His common sense tells him that change is neces- 
sary. He has thrown in his lot with the Conservatives. 

"We serve an all-powerful Lord Jesus," Bassano is say- 
ing, "who can at any moment command the winds and the 
waters around this Ship of Peter, so that they be still, 
so that the Ship be in safety to proceed on its eternal 
course of destiny as God's source of salvation for all men." 
Cardinals sit back and relax and look at each other, at 


Bassano and the Camerlengo. This is going to be predict- 
able. The Camerlengo, however, shows the slightest trace 
of that tic: He must be controlling some lively emotion. 

"Many are afraid," Bassano's voice is lowered still fur- 
ther, becoming more confidential in tone. "And why not? 
Many say: It is the catacombs again for the Church. And 
there are reasons for their fear. Many say: Let us go back 
and reform. Others say: Quick! Let us go and walk with 
the sons of men. Let us be nearer to them. And, in each 
case, they have their reasons. And their persuaders." This 
last reference is the nearest Bassano will come today to 
touching on the Marxism of some Cardinals and their 
friends on the other side of the Iron Curtain. 

Then with a soft upswing to his voice, as if leniency in 
thought were needed: "And, probably, all are correct to 
some degree. Certainly," ... an indulgent smile, "all are 

"What we do need, however, in my humble opinion — 
and I speak for many others here and throughout the 
Church — is a careful policy. The time is not ripe for sud- 
den change. The Spirit of God blows gently, pointing the 
way quietly and in peace, not by fits and starts. We need 
mature development — perhaps more mature than any dis- 
played recently." For the moment, Bassano will not sharpen 
this criticism of Paul 6. "Slow change, gradual adaptation 
to circumstances. Otherwise," ... the voice drops again 
to a quiet bass, "we may fall into the traps of our Enemy 
and of our enemies, the enemies of the Church of Jesus. 

"Some of those enemies we can outwit. Some of them 
we can convert. Some of them we can defeat directly ..." 
Just a touch of Roman triumphalism in that last remark. 
"But all of them, I repeat, all of them, we — the One, Holy, 
Catholic, and Apostolic Church — we will outlive, and 
eventually see them descending to the compost-heap of 
history, while the Church goes on in strong tranquillity." 
The Camerlengo is signaling gently, with a smile. Two 
minutes. Bassano pauses, smiles back, continues: 

'Those for whom I speak — and you know their names, 
they are numerous — think that we need a Pontiff who will 
know how to lead the Church throughout all the gradual 
phases of development and adaptation. While we could 
support My Most Reverend Brother and Eminent Lord, 
Cardinal Masaccio — provided that adjustments and agree- 
ments are settled — we wish to suggest that there is more 

The Final Conclave 145 

than one other candidate among us today who can fill this 
all-important function. The names can wait. This is a 
matter for further discussion, for balloting, for fraternal 
tractations, for mature meditation, and for the Holy Spirit's 
guidance. These are my words to you, Most Eminent 
Brothers today. I thank the Camerlengo and you, Most 
Reverend Lord Cardinals!" 

On Bassano's lips, the terms "adjustments" and "agree- 
ments" refer to the conditions favorable to this group or 
that individual, conditions to which a papabile must agree 
in order to win the Papal election. Conservatives, because 
they balance between Traditionalists and Progressivists, 
have to be extremely punctilious about "agreements" and 

The Camerlengo waits until Cardinal Bassano has re- 
gained his seat smiling, waving to some of his friends down 
the rows. Then he rings his silver bell to capture the atten- 
tion of those Cardinals who are talking together. It is just 
after 8 o'clock by now. 

"My Most Reverend and Eminent Lord, Cardinal 
Domenico!" the Camerlengo calls. Domenico takes his 
time responding. He has been consulting with Cardinal 
Angelico and Cardinal Azande, his next-door neighbors. 
A small, gaunt man and somewhat uncomfortable in his 
ceremonial white and purple, he gets up slowly, unhur- 
riedly, gathers his robes about him, and proceeds to the 
High Altar where he too prays for a moment. The silence 
grows. Domenico begins. 

"The Most Reverend and Eminent Camerlengo does not 
wish any of us to be late for supper." Domenico shares 
his own sense of ease with his Brothers. A small ripple of 
quiet laughter comes from the Cardinals: "I for one am 
hungry. Besides, it is a long time since I sat and listened 
for so long to other men speaking." No surprises to be 
expected. No jolts. Not tonight anyway. Domenico is at 
ease, all can feel easy. . . . 

Domenico, they say, knows more secrets about every- 
body than anyone else, not excepting even the Camerlengo. 
But he has the discretion of a confessor-monk, and the 
face of an ageless angel. Not bland innocence. And not the 
old man's jollity and contentment, or the "I've seen it all" 
attitude, which is sometimes one step away from the be- 
ginning of senility. No. Domenico 's face is ageless for some 
deep inner reason of soul. And his look is innocent, because 


of time purged and space cleansed within him during long 
years of obscurity and quiet work as a scholar. 

"In just a few words, Most Beloved Brothers, let me say 
this: We have grave difficulties. We have been offered four 
different approaches to these difficulties by Brother Cardi- 
nals. These approaches were offered us in all loyalty and 
truth." Domenico then administers a series of gentle but 
deliberate slaps. 

"Of course, we must hold on to our deposit of faith. But 
we cannot, any of us, presume to hold on to the actual 
sociology and very politics of Peter the Fisherman — now, 
in this day and age!" Domenico does not have to look in 
the direction of Riccioni and his Traditionalist nominee, 
Vasari. All understand the criticism, and other eyes seek 
them out. 

"On the other hand, it is also true that change must 
be serious and planned. And, yet, we cannot hang back, 
while real opportunities slide past us, while we give mere 
token acknowledgement to profound changes taking place 
in the world around us." Conservative Bassano seems un- 
perturbed by Domenico's remarks. 

"As for our Marxist Brothers, I am reminded of what 
an American commentator once said — the Lion may, on 
invitation, lie down with the Lamb. But the Lamb won't 
get much sleep. 

"I agree with my Venerable Brother" — a glance to 
Thule — "that an anti-Pope looked likely in these last few 
years. But His Eminence knows that Archbishop Lefebvre 
is not the only one suspected of heading in such a direc- 
tion." Thule reddens as Domenico so easily pinpoints for 
all the weakness and the threat to the Church of Thule's 

"The group I speak for is not numerically great," 
Domenico continues blandly. "We feel that all four ap- 
proaches should be examined. For each one has something 
to offer. But we also feel all four can be radically criticized. 
Frankly, we have no particular candidate in mind — in 
keeping with the General Policy — nor do we right away 
exclude any candidate. We would not whole-heartedly 
support the candidacy of My Most Reverend and Eminent 
Lords, Cardinals Vasari, Lowe, Masaccio, or Yiu, at least 
not for the reasons adduced by my most esteemed col- 
leagues who preceded me in speech here this evening." 

Domenico, as leader of the Radicals, knows the Conclave 

The Final Conclave 147 

and Papal mechanism better than most. It is policy that 
matters. As the Conclave phrase goes: "Policy is the Pope- 
maker." And Domenico wishes to exclude no papabile at 
the beginning, nor fix on one from the start. 

Domenico looks over at the Camerlengo. His time is al- 
most up, "The watchword therefore," he continues, "in my 
opinion, is loving collaboration. Loving frankness. No 
haste. No panic. Let us love. Let us pray. Let us trust. Trust 
the Lord Jesus, that is to say, Whose Church needs a 
Pontiff, and Who will not desert His Church. Jesus is 
among us. This we believe, don't we? I thank Your 

A little murmur of applause follows Domenico as he 
returns to his place. Such applause is unusual. But Domeni- 
co's place of honor in their minds is special. He nods to 
one or two of his colleagues. As he sits down, Angelico 
leans over and touches his arm. Some words pass between 
them. Then Angelico leans back on his throne and nods 
to Azande. The black Cardinal returns his look somberly 
and impassively, only his eyes expressing his understanding. 

It is very close to 8:30 p.m. Now that the general posi- 
tions and attitudes of the five major factions have been 
laid out, there is a general restlessness to move out of this 
formal atmosphere and to begin the night's work. There is 
much to be done between the time this preliminary meet- 
ing ends and the convening of the First Formal Session 
of the Conclave at 10 a.m. tomorrow. There will be private 
meetings. Electors will be sounded out and wooed. Some 
will study and rehearse their positions. 

The Camerlengo announces the end of the meeting. He 
thanks all present, then rises and goes to the locked doors. 
He knocks three times on them. The young Monsignore 
outside unlocks the doors and stands aside to allow the 
Camerlengo to precede him, and then falls into step behind. 

As he leaves, the other Cardinals begin to emerge. Some 
are silent and alone. Some are talking quietly in small 
groups with others. Franzus and Lynch and Thule have 
found each other. Buff catches up with them. Behind them 
come a number of Italians. Yiu, with Azande and Lotuko, 
is joined by Lohngren. Yellow, black, and white, they 
walk away together. Coming up at the rear are the Polish, 
French, and Spanish Cardinals. 

Domenico is the only one who remains, even when the 


service personnel enter and start tidying and dusting the 
Chapel. He sits alone and quite still. Then he rises and 
leaves. The bus will be waiting for him. 

NIGHT: 9:00 p.M.-l:00 A.M« 

Once in the Domus Mariae where they are quartered, 
not all the Cardinals go in to supper — which is optional 
in any case. Groups begin to form in the corridors and 
rooms. The arduous business of this long night begins to 
get under way. Franzus disappears with Thule and Lynch 
and Buff into Thule's apartment to hammer out their 
strategy. Kand is buttonholed by Garcia the Spaniard; 
Karewsky of Eastern Europe joins them. They enter Kand's 
apartment. Ni Kan is seen with Motzu the Asiatic entering 
Yiu's apartment. There is a meeting of German Cardinals 
in the rooms of Cardinal Hildebrandt of Latin America. 
The Mexicans and some of the other Latin Americans 
have split up in various rooms. 

By 9 p.m. the personnel has left the Chapel. The Chapel 
is quiet. One lamp is still on. And a little red light indicates 
the Tabernacle where the Eucharist stays. 

By 9:15 p.m. supper is over. More Cardinals join those 
already gathered in various rooms, holding meetings and 
sending out to other groups for information, for visits, for 

At about 9:30 p.m. the Camerlengo goes with his young 
assistant to inspect the house Chapel and to make sure 
that the surveillance technicians have done their work. As 
the two of them enter the Chapel, they see a kneeling 
figure just visible in the light of the flickering red lamp in 
front of the Tabernacle. It is Domenico. He is kneeling 
without any support, his head raised, his eyes closed. The 
Camerlengo stops. 

Then they both notice that one other person is in the 
Chapel. It is Cardinal Henry Walker. He is still seated in 
his place, bolt upright and motionless, his huge girth filling 
the seat, his back straight, his head flung back, his Rosary 
passing bead by bead through his fingers. Everyone knows 
the Cardinal hates to be found praying and, much more, to 
be looked at while he is praying. 

"Later," the Camerlengo whispers to the Monsignore. 
"Come, we have work to do." They leave Domenico and 
Walker in peace. "The Eminent members of this College 

The Final Conclave 1 49 

of Cardinals never cease to amaze me," the Camerlengo 
says to no one in particular as he reenters his office with 
the Monsignore. 

The calmest and least involved in the evening's activities 
and discussions are the Cardinals from the British Com- 
monwealth countries : Krasnow, Hartley, Moore, and Reyn- 
olds; Oceania's Copley and Dowd join them all in 
Reynolds' apartment. There they are joined by Hopper and 
Morris the Anglo-Saxon. Morris has worked in and out of 
Rome for years, is a good theologian. He brings along with 
him a young Oceanian Cardinal who betrays a stutter as 
he greets them all. 

None of these men, except for the young Cardinal with 
the stutter, is closely allied with any faction or group. The 
young Cardinal has become a friend and confidant of the 
Camerlengo. The others have not been privy to much of 
the pre-Conclave electioneering. Only one of them, Kras- 
now, has been in previous Conclaves; but he has stayed 
away from Church politics for a long time. So, most of 
these Cardinals, including Krasnow, have more questions 
than opinions about the Conclave. Their interest is obvi- 
ously less in strategy or persuasion than in scorekeeping. 

It is natural that Cardinal Morris's young friend with 
the stutter becomes the target of questioning. And, when 
asked the meaning of this evening's preliminary meeting, 
he has much to say. "As far as the Office is concerned'* 
(everyone understands that for the young Cardinal "the 
Office" means the Vatican Secretariat of State) , "up to this 
afternoon, there were only four groups. Nice and tidy, you 
know. In each group, one major candidate all vetted and 
approved, and each with one fall-back candidate. Vasari 
for the Traditionalists, with Canaletto in tow; Masaccio for 
the Conservatives with Ferro of the Vatican in tow; Lowe 
for the Progressivists — the Third Worlders and Ecu- 
menists — with Lombardi of Latin America in tow; and 
Yiu for the Christian-Marxists, with Lamy of France in 
tow. And, among these, there was only one group that 
could command the needed majority. Even at this evening's 
meeting, I don't think Domenico was speaking for a 
group — even though he did speak of sympathizers. Rather 
he was speaking for various members of four different 
groups and for some of the uncommitted and the unde- 


tided. But he is powerful and persuasive. Not political 
power. Something else. He didn't stand up there without 
some reason. . . ," 

"What was the general lineup of votes among those 
four main groups as of, say, yesterday or this morning?" 
Hartley asks. 

"Well, that's the problem. The Camerlengo had it all 
Worked out. He showed me the final — or what he thought 
were the final — lists last week. A clear picture. As far as 
we were concerned, a strong man like Domenico would 
acquiesce in a general consensus and, with him, would go 
Angelico and his followers." 

"As you say. Eminence," Cardinal Moore comments, 
M nice and tidy. Germanic nice and tidy." Someone laughs 
a little. The Camerlengo's one-time nickname was Akribei, 
so keen is he that every subordinate in his Office should 
have "accurate and clear" ideas of his policy and wishes. 
The Camerlengo had his leg pulled at times about his 
desire for clarity of thinking. But he took it all in good 

**But now the picture has changed, eh?" Reynolds pursues 
the lineup of votes. 

"Well, at least the picture is no longer clear, not clear 
at all. You see, there's this Thule movement, and the 
Franzus movement. We didn't expect it, although we 
should have. The problem is: If Thule and Franzus get 
together, that becomes a real threat. And, then, there will 
probably be a fifth group, possibly a sixth." 

"Why a fifth, let alone a sixth?" 

"Because the only way to stop a Thule-Franzus demarche 
would be to go for a non-Italian, pan-European candidate — 
somebody like Cardinal Lohngren, if the Thule-Franzus 
thing became really feasible. In that case, Domenico or 
Angelico might head still another group." 

"Do we know exactly how strong the Thule-Franzus 
thing has become or is likely to become?" Moore asks. 

"We are just in the process of finding out right at this 
very moment," the young Cardinal says with a glance at 
the door, as if he could see through it down the corridor 
and into the office where the Camerlengo sits. "Whoever 
the new Pope is, whoever is backing him, whatever his 
background, there is a solid, conventional wisdom to the 

The Fined Conclave 1 51 

4c You mean, my friend," Moore breaks in, "there are 

"Ah yes! Priorities! In fact, mainly four priorities. At 
least in the Conclaves I have heard about. First on the 
list is always the relationship between the Vatican and the 
State of Italy. Clearly the Pope must be acceptable to the 
Italian Government in its present form and in whatever 
form is anticipated during his projected pontificate. He is, 
after all, the Bishop of Rome. 

"The second big priority on the list is very closely linked 
to the first: the multiple business interests with which 
the Vatican is closely linked through its investments, start- 
ing with Italy — mainly in Rome and Milan — and then 
taking in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. For, if 
any proposed candidate's name sends tremors through im- 
portant segments of banking or industry, the odds are 
heavy against such a man making even the primary list 
of papabilL 

"And the third priority concerns the whole complex of 
politics and diplomacy. Without putting a veto power over 
candidates into the hands of any government, the Con- 
clave has to single out those candidates who would def- 
initely not be acceptable or favorably looked upon by any 
major or any middle-level national power." 

"Does this apply to the U.S.S.R. also?' 5 Reynolds asks. 
"Of course! Of course! And that is also a sign of the 
power of the Papacy even today. Statesmen realize that 
whatever moral unity they rely upon in areas of vital in- 
terest to them depends to a large degree on religious 
leaders. The Soviet experience has shown — as the Romans, 
long before it — that you cannot suppress religion. The 
Soviets may not say that out loud. But they know it well 

"The last big priority is constituted by the national and 
international Conferences of Bishops or, rather, I should 
say, the preferences of such Conferences." The young 
Cardinal is referring to the seven regional groups (Europe, 
North America, Central America, South America, Africa, 
Asia, Oceania); the eight international plenary Reunions 
of Bishops; the ninety-eight national Bishops' Conferences 
that take place everywhere from Angola to Zambia; the 
fourteen Oriental Rites that mainly inhabit the Soviet 
Union; the six patriarchal Synods and five Bishops' Con- 
ferences that function in the lands of Islam. 


"Cardinals preside over the workings, the deliberations, 
and the consensus achieved in each one of these branches 
of international Church government and administration. 
Few people realize what a complicated but useful mech- 
anism these Conferences represent," the young Cardinal 
continues. "It is by means of these that Rome knows the 
current problems in each region and each nation. And 
thus, also, those working at the center of things in the 
Vatican have a hand in the solutions offered, because the 
proposals for solution usually have to be referred to Rome. 
So there is a non-stop, two-way flow of traffic. There's the 
constant action of Rome, and the reactions of regional 
Conferences, and their subsequent actions. So there de- 
velops a very keen local consensus about Papal policies, 
about how the Vatican implements those policies, and 
about how it treats local bishops. 

"Consequently, when a Papal election comes around, 
these Bishops' Conferences are the first groups to know 
what sort of a Pope isn't needed — at least in their opin- 
ion — which of the proposed papabili should be given a 
chance, and which should be excluded without a second 

"It is the Secretaries General of each Conference — men 
like Archbishop Bernardin of Cincinnati, Ohio, former head 
of the North American Conference, and Bishop Etche- 
garay of Marseilles, France, for the European Confer- 
ence^ — men like that who wield power over the Con- 
clave from the point of view of outsiders. For they, in 
turn, can usually deliver the Conference vote to the resi- 
dent local Cardinal or Cardinals on ordinary Church 
matters. Thus, foreign Cardinals, together with the Secre- 
taries General, become in this sense Pope-makers." 

"In the light of all that," Hopper asks, "how would you 
answer the question: Which of the three leaders has the 
best chance of being elected? Ferro, Masaccio, or Vasari?" 
The young Cardinal does not answer. 

"What, in your estimation, is the central issue in this 
Conclave 82?" 

"The old, old question: power. Among men and women 
today, throughout our whole human society, two types of 
power are struggling for victory. The power of the Marxist 
revolution. And the power of the old world, of world 
capitalism. Can you imagine what influence either of those 
two powers could wield if they succeeded in infiltrating 

The Final Conclave 153 

the Church of Rome at the top — if, say, the new Pope 
gave orders that everywhere Catholics were to look kindly 
and with favorable eyes on Marxists? Or, vice versa, if he 
took a very, very strong stand against Marxism?" 

"Is it possible to imagine the mind of a Pope or of a 
Vatican which would take up such an open attitude on 
the Marxism question?" 

"Quite easy. Most easy." The young Cardinal laughs. 
"For instance, in what other way do you think it would 
be possible to re-Christianize Europe, undo all the bastions 
of anti-Catholic and anti-Christian feeling? The quickest 
way would be to liquidate all those bastions. And, tell me, 
Reverend Brothers, tell me as far as you know, what is 
the one socio-political power that makes it its first business 
to liquidate all such bastions?" The answer to the young 
Cardinal's question is obvious to all. 

"One last question, Eminence. If you were a papabile, 
would you be inclined to such an open mentality?" There 
is a short pause as the young Cardinal draws in his breath 
and his lower jaw shakes a little. For the first time in the 
conversation he is having difficulty in overcoming the 

"Nnn-nn-no question bbbb-bbbbut I would side with 
Mmm-mma-mma-artians!" Everyone laughs. The young 
Cardinal has already stood up. "I promised to drop in and 
see the Camerlengo after the preliminary meeting." He 
gives a playful wink. "As the Americans say, tune in to 
tomorrow's Session. ..." He gets a pleasant laugh. When 
he leaves and closes the door, more than one of the older 
Cardinals in the apartment has a speculative look in his 
eyes. The young Cardinal is very, very intelligent. 
. "Has he always had that stutter?" Reynolds is mildly 

"Oh no. Only since five or six years ago. The result of 
an accident," Morris answers. Then he turns to Krasnow. 
"Eminence, you have been in Conclaves before. Give us 
some of your ideas!" 

Back in his office, meanwhile, the Camerlengo works si- 
lently over lists of Cardinals and candidates, while his 
assistant types up memoranda in the outer office. Suddenly, 
he throws down his pencil and rings for the Monsignore. 
"Go over and see if Lohngren is free for a few minutes. 


Discreetly, of course. Be careful! But before you contact 
Lohngren, tell Ruzzo I want to have a word with him." 
Ruzzo is the chief of security, and should have already 
made his rounds for the night 

Ruzzo arrives, shaking his head in a gesture of disbelief. 
There is some transmitter working within the Conclave, he 
tells the Camerlengo. But he cannot locate it. It appears 
to be a recording-transmitting device, automatic, turned 
off and on by remote control, and going on and off irregu- 
larly, Ruzzo tells the Camerlengo. The curious thing he 
says, is that whenever he gets close, or seems to be getting 
close to the carrier of the bug, the device stops working. 

"Try and find it, Ruzzo," the Camerlengo pleads. "I 
want that bug; we still have time." 

When the Monsignore returns with Lohngren minutes 
later, the Camerlengo gets right down to business. "Your 
Eminence, eighteen months ago as a result of talks with 
your Brother Cardinals in Germany and with the Bishops, 
you informed me that you did not wish your name to be 
submitted under any foreseeable circumstances as an ac- 
tive candidate. I must ask you now: Is this still your 
Eminence's attitude? Or has Your Eminence had second 
thoughts?" Then, as if to emphasize the importance of the 
question: "For any reason, any reason?" 

Lohngren looks steadily through his glasses at the 
Camerlengo. "I said at that time to Your Eminence that, 
given the complexity of our situation and the qualifications 
of many widely appreciated candidates such as Masaccio, 
Ferro, and especially since there was no danger either 
within the College of Cardinals itself" — Lohngren empha- 
sizes the words — "or within the traditional heartland of 
Europe — given these two conditions, I did not want to be 
put in nomination." Lohngren pauses. Then, "You see. 
Eminence, I could not foresee any really feasible contin- 
gency by which such a danger could arise." 

The Camerlengo nods. "None of us could have," he says 
tersely to the German. 

"Well then, am I to understand now that your statement 
at the preliminary meeting about the General Policy 
Framework and the agreement about it was for public 
consumption?" Lohngren asks. 

"Yes and no," the Camerlengo hesitates. "There is agree- 

The Final Conclave 1 55 

ment, so far. When they get to know the facts — well, that's 
precisely the problem we have. The danger. . . ." He 
breaks off helplessly, looking at Lohngren. 

The danger he and Lohngren are discussing arises from 
two factors. One is the future of Western Europe as fore- 
seen by the Secretariat of State. This is the political and 
economic domination of the Continent by the U.S.S.R. — 
sometimes referred to as the "Finlandization" of Western 
Europe. The other factor is the rising star among Chris- 
tians of that faction that favors a very positive approach 
to Marxists — not quite an alliance, perhaps — at least not 
now — but a working agreement. 

Since the beginning of the decade, the Camerlengo has 
known about the "Finlandization" idea and understood 
the danger. Indeed, he has known that Pope Paul 6's finan- 
cial policies for the Vatican — the entire Sindona affair 
included — were gauged to this danger: settle in for a 
long-range siege, while the financial sinews of the Church 
are safe across the Atlantic. The General Policy Frame- 
work was part of that long-range siege strategy. 

But the birth of the "openness-to-Marxist" mentality 
complicated things; it was a clear and direct threat to the 
General Policy Framework. An Electors' faction now existed 
that wanted to throw the fortunes of the Vatican and the 
Papacy in with a "Finlandized" Western Europe, as op- 
posed to alliance with the United States. 

On top of all this, the foreign policy of the United 
States itself was no longer trilateral — with the United 
States, Europe, and Japan as the three cornerstones. Black 
Africa would offer alternate markets to the ones the 
United States itself contemplated would be lost, with a 
Finlandized Europe. 

So, the United States may well bypass Europe, hold and 
nourish its association with Saudi Arabia. Without Saudi 
Arabia, the United States could be forced to stop func- 
tioning for a sufficient length of time for it to be crippled. 
Saudi Arabia was vital in its way, as Japan was for the 
Pacific defense of the Continental United States. 

The specific and immediate danger which both Lohn- 
gren and the Camerlengo now face is the possibility that 
the next Pope will be the candidate of the **openness-to- 
Marxists" Electoral group. 

Lohngren sits down heavily. His head is bowed, his chin 
on his chest. He thinks for about a minute. Then raising 


his eyes to the Camerlengo's: "But now, I do not think 
I'm exaggerating, Eminence, I'm convinced that the danger 
is real.'* Lohngren breaks off, as if the words he is about 
to say have sunk out of view and he cannot find them. 

The Camerlengo waits awhile, then: "Have you been 
talking with Tsa-Toke . . . ?" 

"Yes," Lohngren says. "A short conversation. But enough 
of course." He raises one eyebrow and looks at the 
Camerlengo quizzically: "Now I know why Paul made 
Tsa-Toke a member of the College.'* 

"He is fully alive to all the eventualities," the Camer- 
lengo comments. "Always was." 

Cardinal Gabriel Joseph Tsa-Toke, Archbishop in Asia, 
one of Paul's surprise Cardinals, had come to Rome lately 
and blandly stated that it was possible and feasible for 
Christians not merely to coexist with, but to be involved 
in a fully Marxist-Leninist state and still remain good and 
loyal Catholics. He was, in effect, what Paul intended him 
to be: a showcase Cardinal for the new outlook. Tsa-Toke*s 
behavior was shattering for the Italian Cardinals — and it 
immediately started them speculating about how they 
might behave under the "Eurocommunists" of Italy. It 
was devastating for the Americans, and alarming for the 
East Germans and Poles who already knew what it was to 
live in a fully Marxist-Leninist regime. 

Tsa-Toke's attitude was John's and Paul's: "We can 
outlive Marxists, change Marxists, but we cannot keep 
them out — out of Asia, of Europe, of Latin America. And, 
anyway, who wants American capitalism? Isn't it, in the 
final analysis, as unacceptable as Marxism? And isn't that 
capitalism being slowly transformed — in England, in Ire- 
land, in Canada, in the United States itself — into 'social 
democracy'? And isn't that halfway house to the 'demo- 
cratic socialism' which the Latin Americans have been 
proposing for the last dozen years?" These were the few 
comments that could be gleaned from Tsa-Toke. The 
"openness-to-Marxist" Electors love Tsa-Toke. He is their 
showcase Cardinal, too. 

Lohngren continues. "But more important than my con- 
versation with Tsa-Toke — after all, we all heard him at the 
Synod of Bishops some time ago — more important than 
Tsa-Toke are the Special Reports, especially the Latin 
American Report. I've read them all." 

"So now?" 

The Final Conclave 1 57 

"So now," Lohngren answers with a small sigh of ad- 
mission, "I suppose . . . yes ... all right . . . I now am 
a . , . perhaps, should be a possible candidate. But Your 
Eminence understands, a candidate under certain specific 

"Well, then," the Camerlengo answers slowly as he 
smiles, "Your Eminence, I think we should discuss the 
Reports. And those circumstances. Now, I mean. I really 
think so. Now, eh?" 

The Camerlengo rings for his young assistant who has 
been seated in the outer office: "Monsignore, it's going to 
be a late and long night. Why don't you take some time 
off for a cup of coffee and a nap. I shall ring for you. 
Say, in half an hour? Very well." 

As Lohngren begins to talk, the young Monsignore closes 
the door of the outer office and strolls down to the rooms 
where the priest-confessors are lodged. They are there, all 
five of them in their shirtsleeves, talking about the day's 
events and tomorrow's eventualities. The young Cardinal is 
there too, just finishing a cup of coffee. 

A fellow German looks up as the Monsignore enters the 
sitting room: "Gott! What a face! They don't want to 
make you Pope this time do they, Gerhard?" 

The Monsignore sits down and remarks to no one in 
particular: "So now we have at least five groups. ..." 

In the Secretary's office the Camerlengo reassures Lohn- 
gren, but always with the master statesman's tactfulness. 
"Eminence, put your mind at rest. If the candidate of 
choice is to be non-Italian, Your Eminence can be sure — 
of course, I speak under correction by my Brother Cardi- 
nals, but still — that there will be sufficient support to make 
that a general decision." 

"First and foremost, Eminence," Lohngren replies, not 
looking at the Camerlengo, "I must ascertain the status of 
Your Eminence's own plans. Remember, when we had our 
conversation some months ago, all seemed to be set." 

"Well! All was set, mind you, Eminence," the Camer- 
lengo answers quickly. "But it took time for all the infor- 
mation about United States policy details to arrive and be 
analyzed. And, then the Office takes its own good time 
to inform us of what is going on. I only got full details 


on the Moscow-Kiev conversations quite late." The Office, 
part of the Secretariat of State, had been conducting top- 
level talks with U.S.S.R. officials. Subject: detente between 
Rome and Moscow. 

"These talks went very far, before I heard the substance 
of them," the Camerlengo goes on. "Then there was Tsa- 
Toke. And then, Gott in Himmel! there is Thule and 
Franzus and Buff and Lynch. It all has come as one huge, 
indigestible lump. 

"Now at the preliminary meeting this evening, I still 
hewed to the General Policy Framework mainly because a 
majority of the Electors haven't all the facts. It is worth a 
chance that the General Policy Framework candidate may 
yet be viable." 

"But then, Eminence," Lohngren retorts testily, "in the 
face of a rising crisis from the Left, I simply don't under- 
stand why you and Lamennais were so rabid and poisonous 
about Lefebvre " Cardinal Lamennais, German like the 
Camerlengo and posted to the Roman Curia, shared with 
the Camerlengo an undying hatred for Traditionalist Arch- 
bishop Marcel Lefebvre. "Your attacks on him misfired. 
As Witz said to me last month, your method of dealing 
with Lefebvre was as good an idea as importing rabbits 
into Australia in the nineteenth century. Fine at the start, 
maybe, but when they multiplied in their millions — as 
rabbits like to do. ..." Lohngren was obviously not spar- 
ing the Camerlengo in fixing blame for the encouragement 
and strength Rome itself had given the Marxists in attack- 
ing the Rightist Traditionalist faction, but leaving the Left- 
ists untouched. 

"The fact is," the Camerlengo defends himself, "the 
policy agreed upon by Pope Paul called for a shifting of 
the mass of Roman Catholics from the extreme Right — 
where they have always been, by the way — from the ex- 
treme Right over toward somewhere near the Center. You 
know as well as I why we wanted to do that, of course. 
Without such a shift toward the Center there would be too 
much disruption in the Church of the eighties and nine- 
ties: the people had better get used to some dislocation 
and confusion. Anyway, the implementation of that policy 
of moving away from the extreme Right, required some 
precipitate — er — some new element. The Progressivists 
were designated as just that. So they were allowed to 
flourish. Then along sails Lefebvre and repolarizes every- 

The Find Conclave 1 59 

body all over again! Mein Gott! Right back to where we 

"And in the meantime," Lohngren says drily if not quite 
accurately, "the Progressivists multiply — like those rabbits 
in Australia, And we have the danger of a Marxist Church!" 
"Exactly, precisely! Impossible to foresee," the Camer- 
lengo completes the comment. "But this office does expect 
the cooperation and understanding of the College." 

"Nevertheless, cooperation or not, I take it now that 
there is a real feasibility of a rush vote for a Thule candi- 
date? So much so that, as a viable alternative, Your 
Eminence thinks we should provide for the choice of a 
pan-European candidate?" 
"Correct and . . ." 

"And the considered opinion is that I would be an 
acceptable candidate under this rubric?" 

"Your Eminence can see the logic of it all quite clearly," 
the Camerlengo says crisply. "It's just that we did not 
count on any groundswell for the Left among either the 
Italians, the Africans, or the Asians." 

"But the basic idea and purpose of a pan-European 
candidate — will it — can it work?" Lohngren's query is 

"Well, Angelico's been working on it, yToiow. Mon- 
tini's idea was that if he could breathe some new life into 
the 'one Europe' idea — Angelico's been speaking of a 
'new soul* for Europe, but that's his way of talking — then, 
even with 'Finlandization/ we would have a chance of 
changing the political situation and even changing the 
color of Marxist ideology and economics. This could be 
our only hope finally of offsetting the ultimate victory of 
the U.S.S.R." 

"I don't know." Lohngren is musing. "I don't know. A 
socio-political solution for a religious problem has always 
been the Vatican answer. And it hasn't worked." He breaks 
off and looks at the Camerlengo. "But then there is Thule 
and Company. ..." 

"Yes," the Camerlengo's eyes are gleaming. "Thule et 

"I never really thought," Lohngren says as a general 
comment, "that the Italians would waver, or that the Thule 
idea would catch on," He pauses and looks up at the 
Camerlengo. "But, then, these are strange times, times 
when the unexpected is already real, and when none of us 


really knows what's going on among our own people, do 
we now, Your Eminence?" 

"I daresay!" the Camerlengo is curt in word and glance. 
"Now, three questions: First, how feasible do you think 
the recommendations are in the Special Report about Latin 
America? Second, what does Your Eminence think is the 
strength of the ground swell of support for the view ex- 
pressed in that Report? And, finally, you mentioned 'spe- 
cific circumstances' surrounding your possible candidacy. 
The Curia, of course, has its own specific circumstances. 
But first let us hear Your Eminence's." 

"Naturally. Naturally." Lohngren answers easily, as one 
used to power and power-moves. "Your Eminence has read 
the Latin American Report. As far as I am concerned, the 
essential of the Report lies in its documentation of a deal 
between some of the Latin American and European Cardi- 
nals. And then, the Argumentation of the Report is very 
persuasive. With what we already know of Thule and 
Franzus, the proposal in the Latin American Report be- 
comes all too 'feasible,' as you say." 

The evidence cited in the Vatican Report on Latin 
America consists primarily of an exchange of letters be- 
tween some two or three Cardinals in Europe and Latin 
America, and some memoranda that had been circulated. 
The "deal" will purportedly come first through Cuba's Fidel 
Castro and, later, through Cardinal Franzus. 

The evidence provides solid reasons for thinking that a 
majority of Latin American bishops have been sold on 
the idea of so-called "democratic socialism." As far as the 
Camerlengo and Lohngren are concerned, "democratic 
socialism" is merely a window-dressing title for a Marxist 
state connived at by Churchmen. The Report shows that 
those bishops have influenced many of their Cardinals — 
Lynch is not at all alone among his brother Cardinals. The 
Report shows further that the Africans are wavering; that 
a good bulk of Europeans, certainly including Franzus 
from the East, but also "a share of the Italians, are open 
to changing their minds. Even some of the Curial Cardi- 
nals could be affected. 

But there is another aspect to the Report — the so-called 
"Chinese Schedule." The "Chinese Schedule" purported to 
be a program that had originated in Red China, was drawn 
up in Spanish, and was intended as a plan for infiltrating 
the Catholic hierarchy and 'the whole Church in Latin 

The Final Conclave 161 

America by "progressively replacing the religious element 
in Church teaching with a Marxist element." 

"No doubt, I suppose," Lohngren asks, giving a sidelong 
glance at the Camerlengo's desk covered with papers and 
documents, "that the 'deal* is official?" 

"If not officiel" the Camerlengo answers, resorting to the 
nice difference in the French expressions, "then certainly 
officieux. More than 'inspired.' No doubt. Moscow's offer. 
And that goes for the Argumentation too. Of this there 
can be no doubt Now, do not presume the same authen- 
ticity for the 'Chinese Schedule.' " 

"Authentic or not, self-fulfilling prophecy or a genuine 
document and plan, it matters little," Lohngren answers. 
"What's outlined in the 'Chinese Schedule' is what's hap- 
pened! And on top of that, we know Franzus has been 
approached. With a deal. By the Russians. Although the 
Secretariat has apparently precious few details. . . ." 

"Franzus has been extraordinarily taciturn — to use a 
mild word," the Camerlengo gives a wintry smile. "As 
Your Eminence says, we have precious few details. But it 
is the Argumentation in the Report which I find . . ." 

"Yes. Yes. That Argumentation. And the proposed deal. 
A very nearly global plan, if you play it out in your mind. 
Precisely that has persuaded me we have a real danger." 

The news of a deal, of connivance and planning to 
"deliver" the Church, with its powerful popular influence, 
in key areas of the world into Marxist hands, the Camer- 
lengo and Lohngren take as the facts of the case. They 
are old hands and have dealt with matters on a global 
scale before. For them, the important decision now is 
whether the Latin American Report, with its analysis of 
the future and its recommendations of what to do, can 
carry the Conclave. 

In substance, the Argumentation of the Report says that 
the prospect of Soviet "Finlandization" and even the Marx- 
ization of most of Western Europe, and the Marxization 
of most of Latin America, does not undo the soul of 
the Roman Church with fear. 

The Report points out that historically the Christian 
mentality guiding the Church has never accepted any polit- 
ical theory or any practical, working institution that made 
anybody but God the source and regulatory agency of 
power — of any power, but particularly political power. 
In this framework of Christian attitudes, the Report 


goes on, modern democracy and Marxism are on a par — 
at least democracy as it has been presented theoretically 
and installed politically from the eighteenth century on- 
ward in Europe and the Americas. For despite the protes- 
tations of democracy's many professional defenders and 
the outlook of many nations thus democratized, the modern 
concept of democracy is one in which the people are the 
source and the regulatory agency of all political power. 
No genuine Christian and Roman mind was ever seduced 
by that idea of democratic humanism, a bastard offspring 
of the seventeenth century Enlightenment, that beckons 
toward a haven of confidence in the nature of the world 
and in human nature — without reference to the prior 
power of God. 

In this framework of Christian attitudes, both democracy 
and Marxism are inevitable consequences of the view that 
reality is only of the senses — that reality is locked into the 
visual, solid, touchable, measurable world. The Report 
quotes Einstein on this point: "People slowly accustomed 
themselves to the idea that the physical states of space 
itself were the final physical reality." 

In the Christian mind, the Report argues, modern democ- 
racy and Marxism obviously are merely two variants of 
a "closed-in universe" outlook; an outlook that says the 
universe itself is all; and God is closed out of, or identified 
with, the universe. Democracy appears much more tolerant 
than Marxism. But it is not really, and therefore is not 
itself the solution of human problems. 

When the Church denounces Marxism, it does not in- 
tend to defend democracy or capitalism against Com- 
munism, or even to defend liberty against dictatorship. 
Because, the Report argues further, we moderns have all 
arrived at the final moments of a civilization that has de- 
clined into an exclusive servility to the senses, to an inevi- 
table totalitarianism that will be just as complete whether 
it claims modern democracy or Marxism as its father. 

The Report's conclusion after all of its analysis and 
Argumentation is that between Communism and modern 
Western-style democracy, there can be only one practical 
choice — Communism together with its accompanying ide- 
ology — or, as the Report prefers, "democratic socialism." 
Why? Because, the Report concludes, Communism as a 
political system and Marxism as an ideology show all the 
evidence of being open-ended to the future, of marching 

The Final Conclave 163 

to a future of some kind or other. But democracy and 
capitalism are both revisionist and retrograde. 

It is for all these reasons, the Report states, that the 
liquidation of the democratic structures of Western Eu- 
rope is not and cannot become a source of terror for the 
Roman mind, or for the really Christian mind. But, the 
Report concludes, the certainty of its liquidation is the 
occasion for a completely new departure in Vatican policy, 
in the attitude with which the next Pope must be elected, 
and in the kind of Conclave "mandate" he must be given 
as a condition of being elected. 

It is nothing less than that, that the Camerlengo and 
Lohngren weigh between them now. And they must, in 
addition to the weight of the Latin American Report, take 
into account the Report summarizing the secret discussions 
between the Vatican and the U.S.S.R. about detente be- 
tween the two. And, on top of all that, everyone can see 
the strength and appeal of Cardinal Thule. The Camerlengo 
is aware that Thule and Franzus and Lynch are meeting 
now. All of these elements may be more or less separate, 
but they are all powerful elements tending in the same 
direction. Do they present an irresistible tide7 

"I suppose we must face the hard fact," Lohngren is still 
weighing possibilities in his mind, "that a candidate of the 
Curia is bound to be Italian, if not Roman, and is bound 
to be Curial minded, if not a working member of the Curia. 
And if the Argumentation of that Latin American Report 
is correct, the election of such a man would provoke a 
very severe, very deleterious reaction in the Soviets. And, 
if they will soon hold sway over most of Europe and in 
Latin America — however indirectly — then the Church could 
only suffer more." 

"Eminence, there is one more fact we have learned quite 
recently. And it complicates everything. There appears to 
be an alliance, or at least one in the making, between Thule 
and Franzus." 

Lohngren raises his eyebrows. "Eminence, we in Ger- 
many have known about the Thule-Franzus alliance, or 
anyway a proposal of alliance, for quite a while. Thule 
tried to get our German Cardinal Kiel into the affair. I 
really began to think seriously again of the pan-European 
candidacy as a means of offsetting the Thule-Franzus 
thing. Then Lynch got involved, and the Latin Ameri- 
cans — the Ostkardinalaat and the Westkardinalaat, as we 


in Germany described them. What I couldn't gauge until 
now was how much support they might pull away. But if 
we could still offset their moves. . . ." 

"That's it," the Camerlengo replies. "That's it exactly! 
We offset any possibilities of the Thule-Lynch-Franzus 
wave. The idea is that we avoid the issue altogether. We 
enter the First Session tomorrow as if the General Frame- 
work still held. Most of the Electors don't have the infor- 
mation in the Report, and don't see the Marxist alliance 
as a force in the Conclave yet. Most will enter the Session 
supporting the General Framework. With a short Conclave, 
the General Framework position might hold. If it fails, then 
we must quickly put forward a pan-European candidate, 
a non-Italian, a non-Curial man, a man who will represent 
the 4 one Europe' idea and hold the line against the Marxist 
plan. No Frenchman will do: they are all over seventy, 
except Gellee of the East." The Camerlengo looks up and 
gives a hint of a smile. "Gellee would not be the best 
choice." He looks down, still speaking. "We can forget 
Buff — already burned his boats. And forget all four Span- 
iards, and the Eastern Europeans — they all hold key posi- 
tions in their own countries and cannot be replaced easily. 
Da Gomez, the Iberian, is only forty-six; and Witz won't 
accept — thank God! That leaves the Germans. Kohl and 
Kiel are both too young. All key Electors agree that the 
proper candidate should be over sixty. Kirchner is Curial; 
and, besides, we both know his gifts are definitely not 
pontifical. Lohfink is eighty-two and that's too old. Munch 
is seventy-eight, Borlach is seventy-seven and Eck is seventy- 
nine. They would end up too old too fast. We can't make 
do this time with an interim Pope. There's too much at 
stake and events are going very fast. That leaves" — the 
Camerlengo looks up steadily at Lohngren — "Your Em- 

The Camerlengo straightens up in his chair and gazes 
at the man whom he may be acknowledging as Pope in 
a few days' time. "Besides, my Venerable Brother, you 
happen to have an unparalleled popularity with European 
Bishops and Cardinals. I know, or knew, Bishop Marsel- 
lais as your good friend." Roger Marsellais, Bishop of 
Lovon and Secretary to the Conference of European Bish- 
ops, is the all-powerful king-maker among European 
Bishops, and a former supporter of Lohngren. "I also 

The Find Conclave 165 

know his support has left you. But, please, go and talk 
to him. He's not immovable. A good man, Roger." 

There is a pause. Almost a rest after their long discus- 
sion. Then the Camerlengo becomes the practical dealer. 
They have discussed the crisis, he observes to Lohngren. 
And they have seen that Lohngren is the only viable an- 
swer if the General Policy position does not hold. So now, 
the conditions! Lohngren said lie had his conditions. 

Lohngren is direct. "Well, first there is the question of 
European investments. Then there is the post of Secretary 
of State — he must be a German. And, lastly, there is 
Angelico." The Camerlengo stiffens in his chair at the 
mention of Angelico's name. He swivels around to face 
Lohngren directly and watch every expression in his eyes 
as he speaks. 

During this long interview with Lohngren, at the other 
side of the Conclave enclosure, three Cardinals are seated 
in Kand's apartment: Kand himself, Karewsky, and Garcia 
the Iberian. They are rapidly going through the Position 
Papers which Kand has not yet seen. 

The seventy-eight-year-old Kand is a veteran of Nazi 
persecution and Stalinist prisons. A Cardinal since 1975, 
a pawn in the desperate game the Vatican has played with 
the Communist regime in his home country for a dozen 
years, Kand has weathered it all; and, at home, his diocese 
is even now weathering a most vicious anti-Catholic perse- 
cution. His drawn face, the deep lines around mouth and 
eyes, his frail figure still active but in constant pain, and 
the tones of his voice, all tell of deep suffering and con- 
tinued confrontation with bitter enmity. 

Though Kand is a Cardinal, the Communists will not 
allow his official appointment as Archbishop. Kand's task 
is to lead his millions of Roman Catholics and give them 
some hope and some direction. 

Jan Karewsky, sitting with this group, is a different sort 
of man. Just 61, cheery, subtle, active, quick-witted, 
well-read, resourceful, humorous, a Cardinal since 1966, 
he heads a major diocese, is completely alive to the issues 
confronting the Church, both East and West, and has no 
illusions. Between him and Kand the difference is more 
than one of age. It is a difference in personal experience 
and in basic character. Karewsky has never been in prison. 


Nor has he suffered at the hands of the KGB operatives. 
Kand has been a living martyr. The atmosphere for Catho- 
lics in his country is quite different from that in Karewsky's 
country: One is relatively easy. The other is deathly. And 
over and above personal experience, Karewsky is naturally 
an optimistic person and insuppressible. Kand is a quiet 
man, not a fighter, but intensely loyal. 

The third man in the group, Jose* Garcia, a 74-year- 
old Archbishop, has been a Cardinal for seven years. 
He is a powerful character set in a solid frame. Progres- 
sive in thought, but cautious in matters of dogma and be- 
lief, conservative in questions of moral practice, open to 
new ideas, Garcia has no tolerance for wishful thinking. 
He has all the explosive pride of his country, the down- 
right frankness characteristic of his grandee ancestors, and 
an ability to sympathize with weakness and to go along 
with compromise. He is free of any taint from the Falangist 
Party, has never flirted with Communists or Socialists, and 
has an unblemished personal reputation. "If Garcia were 
Italian," Pope Paul was once supposed to have said, "he 
would surely be Supreme Pontiff." 

"Supposing we start with the General Framework 
Paper" Karewsky says to Kand. "It draws on all the other 
Position Papers. And we will refer back from the General 
Framework to particular passages in individual Papers 
when this is helpful or necessary to fill you in. I have 
marked my own copies heavily in red, I've underlined the 
paragraphs of the first chapter of the General Framework 
that concern the internal condition of Roman Catholicism, 
and prospects for near-future expansion in the world. Just 
glance at them, as I run through them quickly with you. 

"As far as the present condition of Catholicism goes, the 
analysis can be summed up in two words: decline and 
fragmentation. Within the decade since the Second Vatican 
Council, there has not been merely a serious decline in 
the number of priests and nuns. It is rather that the prac- 
tice and profession of traditional Catholic doctrine has 
ominously declined, in some places disappeared. 

"On tell-tale points of practice: the use of contracep- 
tives, of abortion, of hysterectomy and vasectomy as con- 
traceptives, of divorce and remarriage, of common-law 
marriages, of tolerance in matters of pornography; in the 
practice of voting against the Catholic conscience and law; 
of accepting other religions as equal in validity to Ca- 

The Final Conclave 167 

tholicism; of refusing the teaching authority of Pope and 
Bishops; of neglect of the Sacraments — particularly of 
Penance and the Eucharist — in all this, there is no country 
in the whole world where the picture is bright. But what is 
most symptomatic is the obvious decline of really active 
religious belief on the part of the clergy — cardinals, bish- 
ops, and priests." 

From time to time, Karewsky's eye returns to the well- 
marked General Framework Taper before him. But he 
knows all too' well what it says. 

"And even that is not all of it," he goes on summarizing 
for Kand. 'The Report analyzes at length the new and well- 
embedded movement tending to erase all and any distinc- 
tion between priest and lay person; between Church and 
ordinary social grouping; between the sacred and the pro- 
fane; between psychological therapy and religious devo- 
tional practice. This tendency, this confusion, is spurred 
powerfully by a new generation of theologians, the so- 
called theologians of liberation, who equate the Church's 
mission with social activity and her religious ideal with 
material betterment. These new theologians seem to have 
deserted the main principles of traditional Christian phi- 
losophy. Cardinals Lynch, Manuel, Marquez, and many 
ordinary bishops are deeply a part of all this. 

"What you heard in Lynch's remarks this evening was 
only the tip of the iceberg. Men like Gutierrez, Kiing, 
Schillebeeckx, Laurentin, have been working and worrying 
away skillfully from within the Church for the past dozen 
years or so. They have been so effective that such basic 
doctrines as the divinity of Jesus, his Resurrection, the 
forgiveness of sin, the privilege of Mary the Virgin, the 
teaching power and authority of the Pope as Peter's suc- 
cessor, and life after death in another dimension of exis- 
tence called the supernatural, all this seems to have dis- 
appeared from the mind and outlook of these theologians I 
And from the minds of many — thousands upon thousands 
— whom they have influenced. 

"This mass of change and decay is shot through with 
some powerful forces of disruption. There is a vast move- 
ment of selfist philosophy according to which the ego of 
each one is the final and the only acceptable norm of what 
is true, and of what is right and wrong, for each one. The 
prime Roman Catholic example is the Catholic Charismatic 
movement. Not only does the Charismatic movement tend 


to tear the institutional Church apart Their very narcissism 
makes them suitable adepts for the wiles of these Chris- 
tians who seek to identify the Christian effort with Marxist 
aims. Now that is not true of each Charismatic. But it is 
true of the movement as a whole. 

"Next to this selfist philosophy there is the overall sub- 
version by the new theologians of priestly seminary train- 
ing. The whole training of young priests now is completely 
away from the traditional doctrines, and over to an out- 
look that stresses urban problems, population problems, 
political rights, ethnic development, and an ambiguous 
type of belief and religious devotion that allows for any 
form of religious faith. But with one big 'kicker*: In all 
this so-called freedom, belief must hew to the specific 
political theory generally called 'democratic socialism.* 
Kung, Lynch, and that crowd move back into the picture 
here. The authors of the Papers see no inherent difference 
between that socialism and the structure of any work-a- 
day Communist regime. As Santiago Carillo, the Spanish 
Communist Party leader, said in November 1 977, there is 
no fundamental difference between a Eurocommunist and 
a socialist. And you and I, my dear Kand, can see better 
than most what lies ahead, if such a trend wins out in the 
end." Kand raises his eyebrows and shrugs. 

"As for the near-future expansion of Roman Catholicism, 
the General Framework briefly states that there is no visible 
hope, now or in the near future — as far as they can humanly 
judge — of any rapid or widespread expansion of Catholi- 
cism — or even of Christianity — in Africa, China, Southeast 
Asia, India, or in the countries of Islam. Nobody dis- 
agrees here. The conclusion is unanimous. Position Papers 
9 through 11 make that clear.** Karewsky searches out a 
phrase in the General Framework Paper and quickly finds 

" *While missionary efforts continue, they will be mere- 
ly and foreseeably token. No vast conversions, no 
wholesale take-overs are in sight.* '* 

Kand continues reading: rt 'If then we continue to 
speak of the coming Kingdom of Christ and of going 
forth to preach to all nations, we must not delude 
ourselves. The days of vast missionary expansion are 
over for now. They were, in their day, always accom- 
plished on the back of some Imperial or Colonial 

The Final Conclave 169 

power. Such powers — except one, the U.S.S.R. — have 
ceased to exist. And the Church lacks any other dy- 
namic in the social and political and cultural orders 
with which to explode in the bright light of Christ be- 
fore the nations.' " 

Kand puts the papers aside, muttering, "the bright light 
of Christ before the nations." He looks at Garcia: "What's 
the alternative, my friend? Thule?" 

"That would be, in my humble opinion, to invite total 
adulteration of the faith!" Karewsky breaks in before 
Garcia can answer. 

"Then what?" Kand takes up the puzzle. "We can't just 
acquiesce and wait. Well just wait and wait and wait and 
wait and be picked off one by one by our enemies, or 
perish by attrition." 

"You think that is bad!" Garcia cocks his head to one 
side. "Wait until we've finished briefing you on the rest of 
the Papers'' 

Neither Karewsky nor Garcia has any doubt as to 
where Kand stands on the issues. But their purpose is to 
gain him positively to their side — to the Radical position. 
They need his witness to what life under a Marxist regime 
is like. And they also need to have access to his intelligence 
sources. In his home town, even watched and monitored 
by the Secret Police, Kand is at the center of a network 
that takes in the Soviet Union and the Western arena. 

"But didn't Pope Paul realize what the situation is like?" 

Garcia is the one to reply this time, "Oh yes I Yes in- 
deed! He himself spoke of the self-destruction of the 
Church — a strange expression, don't you think? And he 
alluded to 'the smoke of Satan which has entered the 
Church.' And, I think, you both heard him say in 1975 
that 'the Church seems destined to die.' And he meant 
every word of it. No metaphors. Paul realized the danger, 
saw how far things had gone. He had one policy: foment 
a united Europe, witness to the truth, pacify all factions — 
integral humanism! But it did not work. And when he woke 
up to that icy-cold fact, it was too late to change it." Gar- 
cia's voice is not hard; rather it has a regretful, compas- 
sionate tone. 

"All right," Garcia grunts as he turns some pages. "Now 
look at the next section of the General Framework. These 


pages summarize Position Papers 2 through 4. Namely, the 
condition of non-Catholic Christians — the Eastern Ortho- 
dox and Protestant Christian Churches." 

Skimming the paragraphs, Kand learns that, in the gen- 
eral opinion of the Cardinals and Vatican consultants, the 
condition of all non-Catholic Christian sects is deteriorat- 
ing at an even faster rate than that of Catholicism. 

First, some so-called Christian Churches are Christian 
in name only, but not in their official stances and beliefs — 
notably the Unitarian, the Christian Scientist, the Mormon 
Churches. Kand reads: 

If to be Christian means professing and maintaining 
belief in a divine creation of the universe from noth- 
ing, in the efficacy of Christ's death as the unique 
redemption for all mankind from sin and from Hell; 
and, further, in belief in the Sacraments, in the divinity 
of Jesus, in his Resurrection, in life after death, in the 
existence of the soul as immortal and really distinct 
from the body, then such churches or sects are not 
Christian at all. 

Further, run the conclusions of the General Framework, 
most of the major Protestant Churches incur the same 
criticism of being non-Christian to some degree or other. 
This is applicable to the large majority of Anglicans all 
over the world — including the Episcopalians of the United 
States — to a small minority of Lutherans and large ma- 
jorities of Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. 

We can say that, effectively, these vast numbers of self- 
styled Christians profess beliefs either at variance with 
basic Christian beliefs or totally contradictory of basic 
Christian beliefs, 

"Can it be as bad as that?" asks Kand. "What about 
this — I admit, volatile — enthusiasm in the United States, 
for instance. The — what do they call themselves — the born 
again people? And all that flurry of enthusiasm for renew- 
ing the Liturgy?" 

"Let me give you one instance of Protestant liturgical 
renewal," Garcia rejoins quickly and heavily. And he tells 
of an Easter celebration organized some years ago in 

The Final Conclave 171 

Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a "Byzantine Mass," he 
recalls, or so its organizers claimed. It was celebrated by 
ministers of four denominations in a Boston discotheque; 
it was enlivened by body-painting, jumping, hugging, 
moaning; punctuated by the Hallelujah Chorus, Hindu 
Mantras, and the Kiss of Peace; and it ended when the 
"worshippers" rushed out to greet the sunrise chanting 
the Beatles' hit record, "Here comes the Sun!" 

"They are, you see, in quite a frenzy of ridiculous and 
pathetic despair," Karewsky comments. 

"That's not renewal," Garcia concludes. "It's ribald 

"Am I to understand then," Kand is surprised, "that the 
much vaunted ecumenical movement is a dead letter?" 

"Yes. But all that is a separate section," Garcia says 
quietly, "and is included in the Special Report on The 
Pontificate of Pope Paul 6. We'll get there in due course. 
First, let's go ahead with the General Framework" 

But Kand is hungry for news. He has heard only bits and 
scraps, and tonight is a feast. "Before leaving this point," 
he says, settling back in his chair, "tell me briefly about 
Suenens and the Charismatics' born again movement." 

"You won't believe how serious it all has become, my 
friend." Garcia shoots a quick glance at Karewsky, as if 
to seek his agreement. "Suenens was heard speaking in 
tongues. In tongues, if you please. Glossolalia." 

"Glossolalia? When?" 

"Last year, in Kansas City, in the State of Missouri, 
where there was a major gathering of Charismatics at an 
international meeting. . . . *Ad gallum hum . . .' That's 
reportedly how he began, or something like that." 

Kand stares at Garcia then slowly turns to look at 
Karewsky, then back to Garcia in disbelief. "You aren't 

"I assure Your Eminence I am serious. And His Emi- 
nence is quite serious. The report," Karewsky assures him, 
"is very explicit. Paul knew as we all do, that the born 
again syndrome is just another stage in the declining day 
of Protestantism. Luther and the other reformers of his 
time proposed justification by faith alone without good 
works. They almost did away with any need for Baptism 
or personal repentance. Now, the born again business 
means that you don't need Baptism with water. Or the 


Mass. Or the Eucharist. Or confession. Or the priest Or 
the Pope. Or a historical Jesus, for that matter. They all 
come down to the same thing finally. Religious economism 
— my own word for it: You take what you feel, what you 
feel you want, what you feel you like. And you forget the 

"What has Thule to say to all that?" Kand asks. 

"That you will hear tomorrow, I am sure." 

"Now," Garcia interrupts, "let's get on with it or you 
will not be ready for the First Session tomorrow. The next 
section on Eastern Orthodoxy is tragically simple to sum- 
marize: Orthodoxy is in the catacombs and will stay there, 
perishing slowly. What emerges into the sunlight on a later 
day will be tattered remnants. Official Orthodoxy in the 
U.S.S.R. has been bastardized through faithful service to 
their political masters in the Kremlin. Unofficial Orthodoxy 
— among the ordinary people — will continue in the U.S.S.R. 
and Greece and elsewhere. But it has no prospect of any 
near-future prosperity or expansion. 

"As for non-Christian religion," Garcia goes on sum- 
marizing the Paper, filling out the picture Kand must have 
in order to be able to judge the condition and prospects of 
the Roman Church, "Buddhism and Hinduism are being 
eroded according as modern life invades the countries and 
the peoples they most dominate. For them, there is no 
compromise possible that will let them live in their essential 
purity. They are doomed to the refuse-heap. Probably," 
Garcia winds up, "as the Paper says, 'probably isolated parts 
of each may develop into a sort of social feeling, a kind of 
Ethical Culture by Orientals for Orientals. 1 But essentially, 
we can dismiss them as negligible." 

"Now, Islam." Karewsky takes up now. "According to 
the Reports, Islam is only a slightly different case. The 
Reports state that in certain sectors of Islam there is a 
chance it can evolve out of its ghetto. But, overall, the 
picture looks bad for Islam. In the principal Muslim coun- 
tries, it is being slowly transformed into a political ideology 
and merely cultural way of life. The nearest parallel, iron- 
ically enough, is with the vast majority of Jews, who re- 
main attached to something they call Judaism, but which 
is really no longer a religion so much as an ethnic and 
cultural outlook, or 'identity,' now based on the sovereign 
state, Israel, as its mainstay. It's the impact of modern 
life, as usual. The mainstay of Islam is Saudi Arabia and 

The Final Conclave 173 

the House of Saud in particular. All, in other words, are 
in trouble." 

As Kand goes on with his briefing, and as the Camerlengo 
continues his dealings with Lohngren, in another apart- 
ment close by the Camerlengo's office Cardinal Angelico 
has just received eight visitors. 

"Your Eminence," Cardinal Azande of Africa bows to 
Angelico. "Please pardon this vast intrusion! But all of us," 
he indicates with a graceful little gesture the seven other 
black Cardinals standing around and behind him — Duala, 
Saleke, Kotoko, Lotuko, Chaega, Bamleke, Makonde — 
"wish to get counsel from you." Angelico bows to his 
visitors; he is unsmiling, pleasant-faced. 

"Why don't you all find a comfortable place to sit. If 
I can be of any help. . . ." He turns away for an instant. 
Azande notes that Angelico lifts his eyes to an image of 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus framed and hanging on the wall. 
Azande smiles at the others. Angelico's habit of instant 
prayer on all occasions is known to all the Cardinals. 

"Your Eminence. We are on our way to a consultation 
in the apartment of my Lord Cardinal Thule. We have an 
approximate idea of what we will be asked to do and to 
accept. But there is one gap in our knowledge — or perhaps, 
it is in our judgment. And you are the most fitted to en- 
lighten us on the matter." 

"None of us, Eminence," Makonde, the oldest black 
Cardinal, takes up, "have been near enough to the subject. 
Yet it is capital. Frankly, it is the previous Holy Father 
and his Pontificate. There are two Supplementary Position 
Papers, as you know, that deal with Pope Paul. And we 
have read those Papers. But it is not enough. We know you 
had something to do with drawing up both Papers. Since 
you worked closely with Pope Paul, and since you were 
such a good friend of his, we would like to hear from your 
lips not simply the substance of those two Papers, but 
rather how Your Eminence thinks they should influence 
our judgment in the choice of candidate." 

The Supplementary Position Papers were curiously laid 
out. In dealing both with Paul's financial and political 
policies, as well as with the Pope's implementation of the 
decrees of the Second Vatican Council, the authors of the 
Papers contented themselves with expounding the facts: 


the decline of religious obedience; the revolt of the clergy; the 
spread of Marxist thinking among theologians and philoso- 
phers; the vast decline in vocations to the priesthood; 
Vatican financial losses; Vatican concessions to the Soviet 
satellite regimes; the persecution and suppression of the 
Church in those countries. These Papers add up to a long 
jeremiad of failures and mishaps and deficiencies. But, un- 
like the other Papers, no final judgment is passed on it all. 
There is not even a general summary of the meaning of 
what Paul accomplished, 

Paul's overall policy of accommodation to nearly all left- 
wing, liberal currents, and his violent rejection of the Tra- 
ditionalist movement are both described. But, again, no 
final judgment is made. Instead, both Papers end by say- 
ing, in sum, that Paul's entire policy as Pope represented 
an "open judgment" on the vast changes that the world of 
the sixties and seventies has been undergoing. 

"The fact is," SalekS observes, "we have been satiated 
with one type of judgment — if you can call it a judgment. 
We need a balance." 

"I know." Angelico understands the problem. "Balance 
is often the hardest thing to come by these days." He looks 
at Makonde, the most conservative among the blacks. 
"Your Eminence was present at the Second Vatican Coun- 
cil. You realize, perhaps. . . ." 

"I have given my point of view," Makonde says stoutly. 
"My Brothers have heard me explaining that the Council 
was hijacked by liberal theologians. But we still need a 
balance." In Makonde's mind, as in Angelico's, much of 
what happened in Paul's reign, and much of the present 
trouble in the Church, was caused by the way Paul went 
along with what Makonde bluntly called hijacking. 

"What I have to say about these matters is what I per- 
sonally think." Angelico is avoiding any semblance of lead- 
ership or spokesmanship or "inspired" opinions. "You all 
know my history. So you will have to balance that against 
what I say." 

Angelico is right. His history in the Roman Curia was 
stormy by any standards, and is certainly well known. 

"I agree," Angelico is saying now, "with the substance 
of both Supplementary Reports. There can be little doubt 
that one group — call it the Rhine Group, the Conciliarist 
Group, the Northerner Group, whatever you like — one 
group did take over in the Council. They put through state- 

The Final Conclave 1 75 

ments of Church doctrine with a deliberate — I say deliber- 
ate — ambiguity useful for its originators. They wished to 
make it easy for non-Catholic Christians and, indeed, non- 
Christians to draw closer to the Church. Their intention 
was good, I think, on the whole. But it is this very am- 
biguity that has in large part brought us to our present crisis. 
For it has left us with little protection against a clever 
minority that wants now to hijack the Church itself." 

"But there must have been people at the Council who 
could see the danger," Bamleke objects. "Why did the 
majority of the Council Bishops accept all that?" 

"Because of the very ambiguity! Pope John had spoken 
about opening windows. Well, here the windows were 
opened! Every sort of interpretation could blow through 
the house, could even lodge permanently in the house of 
the Lord! Did in fact do sol You must try to remember 
the atmosphere at the Council — the media, the young Bish- 
ops, the young theologians, the Jews, the Protestants. 
Freedom. That was the most used word. Openness! Recon- 
ciliation! Frankness! Fraternity! Understanding! And, be- 
hind it all, for the first time in a long time, power over the 
Roman Curia! It was all so heady, so very heady! And 
none of us could have expected then how all this would 
be used later on. 

"It was not the Bishops, the only authorized teachers in 
Christ's Church, but the young theologians who, by skill- 
ful maneuvering, took control of all the post-Council Com- 
missions that were invested with the power to interpret and 
implement the decision of the Council." Angelico looks 
sharply at his questioners. He wants to be sure they have 
understood what he has said. "Note well! By clever ma- 
neuvering the young theologians got from the Bishops the 
very power to interpret and implement the Council's al- 
ready ambiguous decisions. The results should not surprise 
any of us. At least not in hindsight." 

"We ourselves know how this ambiguity was exploited," 
Kotoko comments. "We suffer from that exploitation. For 
instance, it is important in our black African populations 
that priesthood and episcopacy be separate and apart from 
the lay people. Our peoples have a great sense of the sacred, 
of the hieratic, of reverence, and of religious awe. But if 
you ask most Western theologians — the ones who are writ- 
ing the books and articles nowadays, and teaching in the 
major seminaries of Europe and America, where our young 


men must go to get their formation — they say there should 
be no distinction at all between clergy and laity. No dis- 
tinction in anything — dress, functions, respect, occupations 
of daily life, marriage, sex, and so on. This is catastrophic." 

The others agree, 

"The ambiguity has gone very far," Angelico reflects. 

Every document of the Council is marked with the subtle 
ambiguity of which Angelico and the black Cardinals are 
speaking. The Vatican Council document on the Church 
does not state that the Catholic Church is the Church of 
Jesus; it says that the Church of Jesus subsists in the Cath- 
olic Church. A subtle difference, one that in the innocence 
of a decade ago would not have been questioned between 
men of the same faith. The document on Liturgy deliberate- 
ly omits the key Roman Catholic word transubstantiation, 
thus opening the door for other non-Catholic interpretation 
of the very heart of the Catholic Mass, and of Catholic 
belief. The Pope's teaching authority is spoken of in such 
a way that it can be taken in the traditional sense — the 
Pope's personal privilege as Pope — or as merely part of 
the general teaching authority of the Church, as merely the 
chairman of an international board where he has the de- 
ciding vote and an extra dollop of respect. 

The purpose of marriage is described as primarily the 
exercise of marital relations, rather than the total Christian 
aim of love, children, family. Cardinal Thule was one of 
the prime supporters of this new view at the Council. 
Hence it has been concluded that all else — contraception, 
abortion, divorce, even sodomy between consenting couples 
— are licit in order to achieve that marital love. 

A commonplace but telling example of the Council's 
ambiguity is provided by Paragraph 17 of the Council's 
Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life: The clothes worn 
by monks, nuns, priests should, the Decree proclaims, 
"meet the requirements of health and be suited to the cir- 
cumstances of time and place as well as to the service re- 
quired by those who wear them. Clothes of men and women 
which do not correspond to these norms are to be changed." 
These "norms" are so general that they have indeed per- 
mitted the total abolition in many cases of all distinctive 
religious clothing. That was not the intention of the Bishops. 
But the ambiguity of the language the new theologians 
proposed— and the Bishops accepted — has allowed the theo- 

The Final Conclave 111 

logians to interpret and implement the Decree in ways far 
beyond what the Bishops intended or anticipated. 

When one understands that this ambiguity was applied 
systematically to all the teachings of the Second Vatican 
Council — and therefore to many of the essential dogmas 
of the Church — there can be no surprise that throughout 
the Catholic Church today many intellectuals, theologians, 
philosophers, writers, together with some Cardinals, bish- 
ops, priests, nuns, and ordinary layfolk can no longer 
bring themselves to recite the traditional Credo, It is this 
result of the Council that disturbs the Africans. And 
Angelico understands. 

"Now as regards Pope Paul himself," Angelico is going 
to the heart of the question the Africans have asked but, 
for a moment, he stops and stares at the floor. Then he 
starts slowly. "Forgive me, Your Eminences, if I speak 
with apparent harshness of a man to whom I personally 
owe so much . . ." lifting his eyes to the ceiling, lost for 
an instant in some memory or some thought, or some prayer 
of his own, "may Montini himself help me by his prayers 
and forgive me any unintended wrong or hurt I do him 
now. But," lowering his eyes level with Bamleke's, "I can 
only say what I think. 

"Pope Paul was the least fitted to cope with this situa- 
tion." Angelico speaks now without pause, but with ap- 
parent difficulty and strain. "His theology was inadequate. 
His philosophy of man and history was theologically 
erroneous — not heretical, mind you — but simply erroneous. 

"At heart, Montini thought that the function of the 
Church was not so much any more to convert, or to mis- 
sionize, or to engage in polemics, or to engage in any social 
or political commentary or activity, or to bear a standard 
before the eyes of all men and women, or even to act on 
its own initiative in the society of human beings. 

"He seemed to think that the Church's mission was 
simply to exist. To exist as a leaven. As a light. To open 
itself out and allow all sorts of influences to moderate and 
adapt and change and color the Church's own behavior, so 
that the Church would take on the stance suitable for the 
surrounding world. In this way, he thought, events might 
integrate all of humanity's goodness and beauty and love 
of the eternal under the Church's umbrella. 

"The danger seems obvious now: that the world might 
change the Church rather than the other way around. But, 


at heart, Montini thought that all men seek goodness, are 
basically good. And he thought that the Church should not 
enter the socio-political order at all. It should stay away 
from all that, saving, sanctifying, adapting, and drawing 
all men by love to seek unity in the democratic achieve- 
ment of universal brotherhood. . . ." Angelico gives a little 
smile as the sentence trails off. Then: "Actually I am quot- 
ing from memory the favorite author of Montini — Marl- 
tain; Jacques Maritain." 

"But Maritain rejected all that when he was much older 
and near death!" Bamleke blurts out in his deep basso 

"Yes! Yes, indeed! But Montini was no philosopher and 
no writer; he was Pope. He could not change course so 
easily. Not once but many times he had compromised him- 
self and his Church. With the so-called new theologians. 
With the self-styled Conciliarists. With the Jesuits. With 
the Protestants and the Orthodox, and with the Soviets in 
Eastern Europe. He couldn't undo the damage. He did 
what he could, of course. But he could not undo the 

"In that case, Eminence," now it is Azande who speaks, 
"what My Lord Cardinal Thule and My Lord Cardinal 
Lynch and others are proposing is merely an extension and 
continuation of Montini's erroneous step?" 

"No! No! Not quite!" Angelico is almost rude in his 
quick retort. "Forgive me, Eminence. What I mean is: not 
a continuation, rather a consummation, a crowning. Mon- 
tini put his own two feet in the hole. When he understood 
what he had done he did what little was left to him to see 
the Church was not lost in his error. Their Eminences, 
whatever be their motives, or their understanding of affairs, 
would have us put the entire body of the Church in the 
same hole — in over everybody's ears." 

"One last question, Eminence," Azande's voice has an 
added tone of seriousness. "Is there any contingency in 
which Your Eminence would consider having your name 
put in nomination?" 

There is a sudden silence. Angelico rises quickly and 
crosses over to the window that looks on to the streets. 
From the City around the Domus Mariae comes that low, 
quiet, rumbling sound of distant traffic that never ceases 
in Rome. 

The others wait. They are feeling, sensitive men, all alive 

The Fined Conclave 179 

to the emotion of such a moment and to the struggle taking 
place in this stocky little Italian with the broad husky 
shoulders and the sensitivity of a child. 

After a few moments, Angeiico turns around. His face 
is composed, the eyes smiling; but no one of the blacks is 
taken in by the appearance of things. "Why don't we all 
reflect a little more about that? There are . . . er . • • 
problems. . . ." 

The blacks stand up; they each bow to Angeiico , mur- 
mur some simple words of parting, and leave. The last out, 
the senior, Makonde turns around to close the door after 
him and, almost by the way, throws a quick glance back 
to Angeiico. Angelico's face has lost the smiling conven- 
tional composure of a moment ago. They are both sur- 
prised at the quick meeting of eyes. Then Makonde says 
softly: 'Tope Pius who consecrated me, Venerable Brother, 
once said that awe was from God but fear is of the Devil. Is 
that awe or fear in your eyes?" 

Angeiico laughs lightly. 'Tray for me. Pray for us. All 
of us," he answers. 

"I will, Eminence," Makonde says, still looking at him, 
now with an open smile. "I will. Be at peace, Jesus will 
regulate all of us." 

On the floor above, in Thule's apartment, a strategy session 
is about to begin among six Cardinals: Thule himself, 
Franzus of Eastern Europe, the Anglo-Saxon Buff, Lynch 
of Latin America, Tsa-Toke of the Orient, and Motzu the 
Asiatic. They are expecting Cardinal Francis and the black 
Africans to arrive shortly. 

The dominating figure here is Thule. He has called the 
meeting in order to forge an alliance. He knows, as every- 
body knows, that already Lynch and the Cardinals who 
stand with him have a working agreement with Franzus. 
Both Cardinals, in addition, have the adhesion of most of 
the French Cardinals. Buff has been invited because of his 
access to British Commonwealth Cardinals, his dislike of 
the Roman Curia, and his acceptability for Protestant 
Church leaders. 

Tsa-Toke, an ally of Franzus and of Lynch, is an invalu- 
able asset: he is Asiatic and has lived under one of the 
toughest Marxist regimes on earth, is covertly anti-U.S.A., 


and has no hesitation in saying that Roman Catholics can 
collaborate with Marxist-Leninist regimes. 

The Oriental, Francis, is an open door for Thule to the 
black Africans. Without Thule realizing it, Francis is privy 
to the fact that the Africans cannot stomach the attitudes 
of Lynch and Thule. But Francis holds his own counsel to 
himself. Thule will learn this only the hard way. 

But Lynch and Franzus are Thule's main targets. With 
Buff he already has de facto understanding: Both foresee 
a Church in which Catholic and non-Catholic Christian can 
mingle and exchange rites, concepts, beliefs, customs, and 
mutual approval. Lynch and Franzus have come to this 
Conclave content to sit it out and not quite persuaded that 
they could get their favorite candidate elected. 

Thule's aim is to get them all to unite behind one com- 
promise candidate. He would be willing to go along with 
Lynch on the candidacy of Yiu the Asiatic and to join 
with him in an early rush vote. For Thule fears that, if the 
Conclave is prolonged beyond a few days, a sense of alarm 
will run through the Electors. They could easily shy away 
from Thule's plank of complete "openness" of the Church 
to non-Catholic Christians, or from a positive acceptance 
by the Church of Marxist governmental systems, the main 
plank of Lynch and Franzus. A combination of both might 
be too much for too many! And, so, the occasion would be 

Thule and Buff had met for a few minutes first, to co- 
ordinate their ideas on how to present their plan of an 
alliance. The first to join them are Lynch, Franzus, Tsa- 
Toke, and Motzu. Motzu is smiling, jaunty. Tsa-Toke is 
quiet, almost demure, a man of few — if any — words. 

Surprisingly, Franzus takes the first initiative. "I think 
that when we are finished here tonight," he starts off, "we 
should have a concerted plan. And I think that plan should 
be implemented as soon as possible. There's a summary 
danger in any waiting period We can't afford a delay." 
Thule and Buff exchange glances. 

"Just what we were thinking, Eminence," Thule says 

"But," Franzus adds, "what about this damnable Gen- 
eral Policy and the General Policy candidate? Haven't they 
already got a clear majority going for all that?" 

"This is exactly where we can act," Thule breaks in. 
"Briefly, Buff and myself want to jolt the expected pro- 

The Final Conclave 181 

cedure of the First Session tomorrow morning forcing a 
vote of approval or disapproval of the General Policy. If 
we all unite, if our presentation speeches are well worked 
out, we can have that General Policy — and its candidate — 
wiped out of consideration. That leaves a vacuum, and 
into that vacuum we will jump as the only group with a 
viable alternative." 

"In short," Buff summarizes, "we must all agree that the 
idea of an Italian, even of a non-Roman Italian, candidate 
is no longer valid." 

"Not so difficult as all that, Your Eminence," Thule 
comments gently and gravely. "In fact, I feel that a formal 
rejection of a non-Roman Italian candidate and of the 
General Policy in one vote tomorrow will be just the dy- 
namic we need to send Conclave feeling veering off in the 
right direction. It's worth the gamble. Besides, there's an 
extraordinary spirit of independence in this Conclave. I 
don't think as many as all that accepted what the Camer- 
lengo said." 

"Well, we need something to change the present trend 
in the Conclave," Franzus muses. "From my experience 
and from what I have been told in the last year, the pres- 
ent trend to an Italian candidate will be disastrous. Simply 
will be at odds with reality. That's all." Franzus' entire 
world is bounded by the military might of the U.S.S.R., 
and by the rising revolution in Latin America. This, for 
him, is the reality. Francis arrives at this moment. He 
takes a seat. "Somebody fill me in," he says genially. 

"The general idea, Your Eminence, is as follows," Thule 
obliges immediately. "We all know from what the Camer- 
lengo said today, that, within the so-called General Policy 
Framework, only one type of candidate really stands a 
chance of obtaining a majority — even a small majority. He 
is to be Italian. The General Policy will be one either of 
close identification with, or of closely following the policy 
projection of, the Western powers — and, to be frank, this 
means the policy of the United States. That American 
policy is predicated on a five-to-ten-year projection accord- 
ing to which the U.S.S.R. will be allowed limited aggran- 
dizement — the famous, or rather infamous, LA. How I dis- 
like that expression! Anyway, LA will be allowed within 
Western Europe and the Mediterranean. And all this is 
planned in view of yet another period of detente affecting 
Africa and Latin America and India. This is to say, a period 


during which any and every effort on the part of capitalists 
and Communists — short of direct super-power confronta- 
tion — is allowed, in order to see which way the wind of 
human affairs will blow. Since most of the financial and 
economic interests of the Holy See have been bound to the 
United States, the General Policy now proposed for the 
Holy See in choosing a candidate has been fashioned ac- 
cordingly. It's money and imperialism dictating the choice 
of Pope." 

"And that means," Francis draws the conclusion, "that 
the Church will discourage — even officially oppose — the 
popular movements in Latin America, in Asia, and in 

"Yes," Thule replies, "exactly where the future of the 
Church lies, the defenders and formulators of the General 
Policy wish to hamper and hamstring the Church." 

"So," Franzus adds, "we want to eviscerate the General 
Policy and its candidacy." 

"And we want to work out an agreement on one can- 
didate," Buff finishes up, **who will satisfy all of us and 
have a maximum appeal for other Electors." 

Thule follows the remarks of each one. He judges that 
this is the moment he must make his bid for a unified 
front behind his general idea of a new Papal policy. He 
knows he has to tread warily. He looks down at his hands, 
meditating. The heavy lids close away his feelings for a few 

"My brothers," he says finally, as he lifts his head, his 
eyes full of import, "there is a still graver reason why we 
would propose our alternative." He looks at Motzu and 
Lynch, then at Buff. 'There is a new spirit blowing across 
the face of humanity in our days. If we get the type of 
candidate outlined in the General Policy Statement and 
according to the supposed majority agreement of the Elec- 
tors — personally, I doubt that all the Electors are aware 
of what is going on — then the Church will slip into a back- 
water from which it will not emerge easily for several 
generations. For, in the General Policy that candidate is 
supposed to be an Italian; and he is supposed to have a 
Papal policy that hews closely to United States interests 
and policies in Europe and the Third World. But nothing 
— especially the United States — can stem the revolution. 
The U.S.A. is over the hill. If we back them, and if the 
new Pope backs them, the Church is also over the hill." 

The Fined Conclave 183 

Buff intervenes to smooth over the one difficulty that is 
apparent to all present. Just because Lynch and Franzus 
advocate Marxization of Third World countries, and even 
of Western Europe, does not mean they approve of Thule's 
open Church. In actual belief, Lynch and Franzus are Tra- 
ditionalist. "We know, of course, that we have agreement 
on the main point — a non-Italian Pope. It is also clear, 
however, to the Cardinal and to me that some of you have 
serious misgivings about the 'new spirit' of which Cardinal 
Thule has just spoken. And sometimes the representative 
voices of that new spirit are frightening. But I don't think 
that the two positions are irreconcilable. . . ." 

"Frankly, Your Eminence," Francis breaks in, address- 
ing himself to Buff, "it is not with us — not so much anyway 
— as with our African brothers that you are going to have 
difficulty. Already they have found your new Liturgy an 
unmanageable and uninspiring mess. We of the older Rite 
don't mind" — Cardinal Francis heads the Catholics who 
have retained their ancient Liturgy untouched by the 
changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council in the 
sixties — "but the Africans can't take that new Roman Lit- 
urgy. Mainly because it lacks all depth and mystery. Be- 
lieve me, they are going to slide back to the ancient modes 
of worship in any way they can. 

"And what they can't take, either, are your new theo- 
logians and your new theology. No use in arguing about 
it with them. For them, people like Kiing, like Schille- 
beeckx, Curran, Heusing, Dulles, Baum, Laurentin, people 
like that are already non-Catholics, if not non-Christians. 
There's your difficulty!" 

"Yes," Motzu adds, "and even the Charismatic move- 
ment, and all that. Don't you realize that especially the 
Africans are very conscious of their dignity and power as 
Bishops, and the centrality of power in Rome? Now, the 
Charismatics everywhere are very much on their own, 
following their own inspiration. If anything, they are 
telling the Bishops and Pope what should be done, and 
what trie Holy Spirit tells them should be done! You know 
— it's too much! Really!" 

"And you have another difficulty," Franzus adds. "All 
right! So, if the General Policy of this Conclave is pro- 
U.S.A., pro-West, the U.S.S.R. won't like it. But don't you 
realize we have survived in the Eastern bloc only because 
we remain largely Traditionalist? I mean, Lefebvre would 


be most welcome by us. Can you make it worth our while 
to be allied with you? We can't take the new theologians; 
for us, they are devils. And, if we do march with you, how 
are you going to put your new theology, your 'new spirit/ 
in harmony with the populations in Hungary, Poland, 
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, and so on?" 

"Our main strength," Thule argues, "is the need, the 
universally felt need for change. A need so great that we 
can formulate it in the shape of a row of threats that can 
be exercised against the Church, if the Church does not 
bend with the destructive wind blowing today. 

"First, there is the condition of the Church in the West- 
ern countries, including the U.S.A. It is pretty bad already, 
as you know. But its intellectual leaders have been willing 
to wait for a new Pope in the hope that he will make the 
adaptation these intellectuals see as necessary. If they don't 
get that from the next Pope, you can expect a real split, 
a schism. That is one grave threat to be outlined. 

"And that, my dear Franzus, is the answer to your own 
difficulty. You say these theologians are devils. I don't 
know. I don't think so. All I know is that they give voice 
to a deep change. Don't think your Iron Curtain Catholics 
are exempt from that change. Perhaps, indeed, you your- 
self should change. Perhaps not. But the point is, outside 
the Iron Curtain countries, there is this vast movement. 
We must follow with it. It is to our advantage, to the 
advantage of all of us." 

Franzus receives all this affably, and makes no objection. 

"Then," Thule continues, "there is the Church in Africa 
and Asia — comprising about one-third of all Catholic 
bishops, about one million nuns, and about 200,000 priests 
and brothers. Now, the winds of change are blowing there. 
But who would want winds of change to blow all that into 
loose disarray and disloyalty to Rome? So, Rome must go 
along with change. Even though their Cardinals dislike the 
change, they cannot prevent it. 

"And there is a third threat," Thule goes on. "It is the 
threat of the total strangulation of the Church in most of 
Western Europe within the limits of the LA policy. If So- 
viet Russia really dominates in that region, in Western 
Europe and the Mediterranean, and if it is not conciliated, 
then we can expect Soviet attitudes to be the same as they 
are in the countries already under Soviet control." 

"Unless," Lynch chimes in, "unless the Church officially 

The Final Conclave 185 

and publicly throws its weight behind some form of 
democratic socialism both in Europe and Latin America, 
the Church will be a nonentity within a generation.'* He 
pauses a little. "Including and perhaps beginning with my 
own beloved country," he concludes mournfully. The others 
nod sympathetically. 

"Well, when the Africans arrive, tackle them on this 
specific point." Francis says this in such a way that some 
there begin to doubt that he is whole-heartedly with them. 
But Francis adds, "You need their votes." 

"I already have had two long talks with Azande," Thule 
answers. "He understands the future I see for the Church 
in Africa. I also went into the question of restructuring 
Church administration. Yes, we need his vote and other 
African votes. But the ground is well prepared. 

"I take it then," Thule looks at each one, "that we all 
agree on the need for us to stay together and form one 
voting block?" The expression on each face is positive. 
Franzus, with a glance at Lynch, nods. 

"You must realize that my intention in inviting the 
Africans here is double-barreled. We need their votes. And 
we need the votes they can win for us. I have no doubt, 
for instance, that Azande can garner quite a few of the 
Italians, perhaps one or two Americans. I think the Africans 
can influence many of the British Commonwealth Cardinals 
as well as Ni Kan, Nei Hao, and Lang Che-Ning. With the 
blacks on our side, we can start a ground swell. We need 
them. Believe me. We need them." 

"Before the Africans come," Buff introduces a new 
theme, "there are some things which our Eminent Brother 
should outline for us." He looks over at Lynch. He already 
has had a word with Lynch, telling him that he must make 
sure Francis understands. If Francis is with them, he will 
be most influential in convincing the Africans. But neither 
Buff nor Thule wish Lynch to explain too much of his mind 
to the blacks. He might disturb them at this still delicate 

"I will try to sum it all up very briefly," Lynch begins. 
"According to what I know, there is a great readiness and 
disposition of soul among my clergy, and indeed in the 
clergy throughout the Third World, particularly in Latin 
America, precisely for this gigantic new step, this daring 
risk of brotherhood, fraternization, and collaboration with 
our Marxist compatriots at home and abroad. And — I 


stress this with you, it's important — the clergy's attitude is 
tailored to the conditions of body and mind of the ordinary 
people, the masses of the ordinary people. 

"In spite of opposition from the Roman Curia, Latin 
America now has a whole theology to fit our outlook. Men 
like Gustavo Gutierrez of Peru, Juan Luis Segundo of 
Uruguay, Hugo Assman of Brazil, Miguel Bonino in the 
Argentine, Sergio Torres of Chile. All these have affected 
the universities, the seminaries, the colleges, and the or- 
dinary people. You must add to this picture the vital work 
of the Capuchin Fathers in Nicaragua and of the Jesuits 
in several places, but especially in Honduras, where the 
Fathers are said to have directly created the three peasant 
organizations that are actually righting the monopolist and 
fascist central government. Great gains throughout! 

"Besides," Lynch continues, "outside Latin America, our 
outlook is very pervasive and there is effective coordination 
between the Americas — North and South — and the Euro- 
peans. All this or a good part of it is due to the work of 
Father Antonio Arroyo who directs the Hispanic Consulta- 
tion of Theology in the Americas, and to Margaret Schuler, 
among others, who works in the American Christians To- 
ward Socialism group. We have supporters in almost all 
the dioceses of North America — the U.S. Bishops them- 
selves financed to the tune of $15,000 the 1975 Detroit 
Theology in the Americas Conference where all our Chris- 
tian Leftists and Liberation theologians met. 

"As for myself in all this, my Brothers, I can say in all 
good conscience, I am a democratic socialist. I am of the 
Left. Because that is where Jesus is and that is where 
Jesus' Church should be officially today and tomorrow in 
this world." 

"In other words, you — like me — are in favor of going 
with this tide, even though it involves violence?" Buff asks 
with a grim look. 

"Yes," Lynch says pleasantly enough but quite firmly. 
"The Kingdom of God is taken by violence and the violent 
bear it away, as Jesus himself said. And in my view, 
guerrilla priests and lay people are only using counter- 
violence methods. Can you blame the Jesuits, for example 
in El Salvador, for carrying guns and calling on guerrilla 
protection when the capitalist vigilante groups threaten 
their lives? 

"The point I wish to make, and my contribution, is 

The Final Conclave 1 87 

this: we must state our position boldly, and stand up for 
this alliance between the people and the Church. We must 
insist that the Church render this service of justice and 
peace to the people. For this Jesus founded the Church. 
Some will say we are mixing politics and religion. But this 
sort of politics is deeper than your normal politics. This 
is the question of the human survival of the Church. The 
time is past when we can temporize or wait." 

"I think," Buff says, "our African Brothers are coming." 

When the eight blacks do enter, there is a moment of 
awkward silence. Somehow or other, the very presence of 
those men in their Cardinalitial robes seems to pull the 
attention of all away from any theorizing, down to a very 
concrete level. No one of these black men, Cardinals all, 
is a third generation Christian. None is European. Some- 
thing vaguely disturbing stands between the whites and the 
blacks. And even the gregarious and self-confident Lynch 
is affected. 

It is Francis the Oriental, who breaks the awkwardness 
with almost Levantine smoothness and jollity: "I stand 
between you two, black and white, the only one who can 
possibly understand you both. Make me Pope!" 

Everyone laughs a little — Thule perhaps less than the 
others; for Francis has hit upon the very reason Thule 
needs him. No fool, this man, Thule knows. But in the end, 
where will he stand? 

Everyone finds a place, sitting or standing. Azande has 
apparently been chosen as spokesman for the blacks. He 
remains standing, and addresses Thule. 

Everyone listening to the black Cardinal is struck by 
Azande's youthful face and the silvery clear tones of his 
voice with that subtle sibilance of his pronunciation. For- 
merly Archbishop of his home capital, Azande was called 
to Rome in 1970 and has already occupied many impor- 
tant posts in the Vatican. People speak of Azande as Pope 
Paul's future black Pope. And, indeed, Azande may one 
day be just that. Now Azande speaks, and it is with a 
great smoothness and gentleness. 

"Eminence, we have come at your most gracious invita- 
tion to listen. But, with Your Eminence's permission, we 
would like to ask our Venerable Brother Lynch a few 
questions." Buff stays sitting, as does Lynch. Thule is 

"My Lord Cardinal," Azande looks straight at Cardinal 


Lynch as he begins. "Four Jesuit Fathers — two of them 
from the United States — recently published a book called 
The New China: A Catholic Response. Has Your Eminence 
read it?" 

Lynch nods. He has read it. 

"Does Your Eminence agree with the authors that Mao- 
ism is more akin to Christianity than is Buddhism or Hindu- 
ism, and that the Holy Spirit is using Maoism to lead the 
Chinese to Christ?" 

"Well, I don't know if that is quite what the authors . . ." 
Lynch begins. 

"Let me quote to you, Eminence." Azande is sure and 
intent. He takes a single folded sheet of paper from his 
pocket. " 'Communism is preparing the way for the Gospel. 
Mao's ideology can speak to the Christian need for per- 
sonal development, for the evolution of the total Christian 
Community, and for more productive Christian thought and 

"I do not think," Azande looks up, "that the authors 
could speak their mind more clearly. And you, Eminence, 
what do you think?" 

Francis opens his mouth to speak, then thinks better of 
it. Buff begins to clear his throat as if to say something, but 
Azande holds up his hand gently, 

"It is Cardinal Lynch we wish to hear. After all, his 
standpoint is half the plank on which the group proposes 
to stand," 

"Frankly, Your Eminence," Lynch answers slowly with 
a long look in Azande's direction, "these things are diffi- 
cult to express in exact language. We are all groping. For 
words. For solutions. The Church herself is groping. We 
in Conclave are groping. ..." 

The senior among the black Cardinals, Makonde, now 
takes over. "Eminence, to bring it down to concrete terms, 
and to stop groping where we need not grope, and to speak 
concretely about a country which is not your own, could 
we have a few short answers to a few simple questions?" 

This is not really a question, but a statement of what 
Makonde intends to do. He is famous for his Number One, 
Number Two, Number Three, Number Four method of 

"Number One: Did Your Eminence approve of the Gov- 
ernment of Salvador Allende?" 

The Final Conclave 1 89 

"Like all other major responsible leaders, I support every 
legitimate government." 

"I am not talking of the parliamentary agreement. I am 
talking of his suppression of the media, his silencing of op- 
ponents among the clergy. Did Your Eminence take mea- 
sures to stifle all opposition to Allende?" 

"Yes. I did. I thought that none of my clergy should 
intervene in politics." 

"But this did not apply to the Monsignore whom you 
sent around to the various political factions. Nor to the 
seminarians you dismissed because they criticized Allende, 
and the others you did not dismiss who supported Allende. 
Nor to the priests you transferred to remote parishes from 
urban areas, for the same reason. Nor to yourself who 
engaged in purely political discussions with the Allende 
representatives and with Allende himself." 

"We have to represent Church interests." Lynch is quite 
calm and confident. 

"Number Two: Did you know of, and if you did, did 
you assent to Allende's prepared program of liquidation?" 
Allende's people had prepared, under his instructions, lists 
of intellectuals, businessmen and women, priests, social 
workers, writers, and others, who were to be eliminated at 
the crucial point in Allende's Marxist revolution. 

"If such methods were necessary in their country so that 
social justice prevail, then . . ." 

"But did Your Eminence know of such plans, and did 
Your Eminence assent to them?" 

"We had information to that effect. We were never asked 
in our country to assent or dissent about matters in another 

"Number Three: Has Your Eminence been in corre- 
spondence with Hortense Allende, the dead dictator's widow, 
and with Cuban authorities since Allende's death?" 

"As part of my function as national leader of my Church, 
yes. Moreover, the relevant section of the Secretariat of 
State here in Rome knew and approved of these tracta- 

"Number Four: Does Your Eminence agree with those 
who say that Christ was a kind of Palestinian Che Guevara, 
and that Chou en-Lai should one day be canonized as a 
saint by the Church?" 

Lynch cannot very well deny any of this. He has made 
public statements to this effect, and has supported similar 


statements by other Latin American clergymen. He nods 
slowly but firmly. 

"Number Five: Would Your Eminence exhort the faith- 
ful to rise in armed revolt in order to install a Marxist 
government in your own country, or in Chile, or elsewhere 
either in Latin America, in Africa, or in other parts of the 

Lynch has made remarks about this also. "If this is the 
only way — and mind you, it may not be . . ." 

"Thank you, Venerable Brother. Number Six: Do you 
think that the next Pope should declare capitalism perni- 
cious and irreconcilable with Christian ideals and openly 
commit the Church of Jesus to an alliance with Marxists 
not only in Latin America, but in North America, in 
Europe, in Africa, in Asia, and everywhere in fact?" 

"If it comes to that, but ..." 

"That is not my question, Eminence. Should the next 
Pope, whatever be the circumstances, should he take that 

Lynch looks quietly at Thule for just a second or two. 
Then there is an apparently interminable wait, while Lynch 
looks first at Makonde straight in the eye and for just an 
instant — and then away past the seven silent blacks stand- 
ing quietly, waiting. 

When he speaks finally, his tone is quiet enough, but it 
has the hint of a harsh edge. "I have lived and worked 
in the Church all my life. I know the Continent inside and 
out. I know more surely than I know most other things 
that nothing, but absolutely nothing, short of violent up- 
heaval — bloodshed in fact — is going to put bread in chil- 
dren's mouths, cure their diseases . . ." his voice is slowly 
rising in genuine passion, "take the sores off their little 
limbs, wash their bodies, remove the lice and cockroaches 
and horseflies from their hair and faces, fill their little bel- 
lies with good food, give their fathers dignity in work and 
their mothers a proper home to care for, and their aging 
grandfathers and grandmothers comfort in their old age." 

Lynch's eyes are full of tears now. Some of the black 
Cardinals turn away, embarrassed. Lynch turns on Makonde 
but in a kind of gentle anger, as if to convey sorrow rather 
than enmity. 

"Venerable Brother! You in Africa, you have seen what 
we have seen; what the industrial monopolies, the capitalist 

The Final Conclave 191 

dynasties, the colonialist corporations, the secret govern- 
ment operations have done! 1 ' 

"Yes, my Brother." It is Duala of East Africa who an- 
swers without any trace of rancor. "But nowhere, nowhere 
has a Marxist or a socialist government in Africa, or for 
that matter, in Asia, cleaned those scabs on little limbs, 
cared for our lepers in remote villages, saved our abandoned 
babies. Mother Teresa is not a Marxist. No Marxist has 
treated our prostitutes — beyond shooting them by the mil- 
lion, as Mao did — or paid an honest day's pay for an 
honest day's work. Or let people live in dignity, or pre- 
served the family as a unit, or protected them from oppres- 
sion, or guarded their liberties from the rapacity of so- 
cialist bureaucrats and Marxist dictators." He pauses, his 
eyes gleaming with expression. "Nowhere, Venerable 
Brother! Nowhere." 

Lynch does not answer. 

Thule appears very impatient to jump in, but Azande 
keeps the initiative, as leader and spokesman for the 
blacks: "We have learned all we came to learn, Venerable 
Brothers. My Lord Cardinal Thule has privately explained 
other points to us. We suggest that we leave things as they 
now are, and that we all meet tomorrow with our Brother 
Cardinals to consult with the Holy Spirit in Conclave 
Session." The blacks bow to Buff, to Thule, to Francis, to 
Lynch, and one by one, gravely, they file out. 

There is silence. Buff stands up. 

"Let us all pray," Thule says quite calmly, "that the 
same Holy Spirit enlighten every heart. For, at the present 
moment, my Brothers, everything seems to be in jeopardy." 

A knock at the door interrupts what Buff is about to 
say. It is the young Monsignore from the Camerlengo's 
Office. Could Cardinal Thule step over to the Camerlengo's 
quarters in order to have a short word with him before he 
turns in for the remaining hours of the night? When? 
Whenever it suits His Eminence. Very well, then. In five 

"I sense movement," Buff remarks acidly. "Perhaps, like 
Kant, the Camerlengo has some accurate and clear ideas." 

When Thule enters the Camerlengo's Office, he finds the 
Camerlengo already engrossed with Cardinal Masaccio, 
Cardinal Eakins of the United States, and Cardinal Witz. 


As far as Thule knows, Masaccio is the Conservative can- 
didate, Eakins and Witz are both Traditionalists. The hand- 
shakes and bows are polite and perfunctory. These men all 
know each other, have measured each other, know more 
or less each other's aims, and are all used to the smooth 
exchange, the strong but quietly delivered rebuff, and the 
heartlessness of power politics that sometimes divide them. 
The Camerlengo starts speaking at once to Thule. 

"Eminence," he says, "I have just had a talk with Lohn- 
gren. His Eminence, as you know, enjoys tremendous 
popularity with the Europeans, with many Africans, and 
with the North Americans." 

There is no revelatory expression on Thule's face, Eakins 
sits bolt upright in his chair. Masaccio and Witz are seated 
facing each other, but they avoid all eye contact. All are 
looking at the Camerlengo. 

"We have in this Office, several documents — let's not 
waste time perusing them now — which suggest that Your 
Eminence intends to make an effort — indeed, has already 
made an effort — to seize the initiative in this Conclave 
process. I speak" — here he glances at his desk, then at 
Masaccio's face, then back to Thule — "not only of your 
planned address tomorrow — yes, yes you are marked down 
on my schedule as one of the speakers . . . yes, that's it, 
last to speak — but of the correspondence and conversa- 
tions reliably reported here and elsewhere." The Camer- 
lengo pauses, looking at his papers. Nobody looks at Thule 
directly. But Cardinal Thule feels that the slightest trace of 
reaction on his face or the smallest physical movement 
would be noticed and noted morbidly out of the side of 
each pair of eyes. 

"I trust Your Eminence realizes," Thule says calmly, 
"that in all pre-Conclave activity, we are certain for our 
part that all the Canons of the Church and the laws of 
our Holy Father, Paul 6, have been observed." 

"Tut! Tut! Your Eminence!" the Camerlengo answers a 
little testily in mock reproach. "We know that! We know 
that! To be sure! No implication of a reproach, I assure 
you. It is just that I and the others" — a glance indicating 
Eakins and Witz and Masaccto — "felt that you should be 
made aware that your whole move may well be counter- 
productive." He pauses, to let this much sink in. "Counter- 
productive," he repeats, "for all of us, for Your Eminence 
as well as for us." The fixed smile on the Camerlengo's 

The Final Conclave 193 

lips never quite fades, but is never reflected in his own 

"Let me explain," he goes on in a lecturing tone of 
voice. "I have just finished talking with Lohngren. I am 
empowered to say in his name that, while the Cardinal is 
willing to be put in nomination, he has laid down specific 
circumstances under which he would not be willing, and 
when he will deliberately support the nomination of my 
Lord Cardinal Angelico." 

Masaccio stirs in his chair, as if disturbed by some 
unexpected thought. Thule stiffens, looks quickly at Masac- 
cio, who has moved only his eyes to meet Thule's, then to 
Eakins who is still looking at the Camerlengo, and to Witz 
who is staring at him with a full glance of steely blue eyes, 
Thule knows that, were Angelico to be supported by the 
Camerlengo, Angelico could give anybody a narrow race 
for Pope. And Angelico for Pope! Thule looks back again 
to the Camerlengo. 

"What specific circumstances?" Thule's question is ellip- 
tical, even stern. 

"Two, really, two main ones: If any candidate at all 
is put forward on the ground of Your Eminence's argu- 
ments, or if you, Eminence, are the one who proposes any 
candidate at all. So!" The smile again. "And when I say a 
'candidate put forward on Your Eminence's arguments,' I 
mean a candidate of the Ostkardinalaat and the Latin 
Americans, and a candidate bound by policy to open the 
Church to Marxism and the Third World. Clear?" 

"The brute fact is, my Brother," Witz says with a metal- 
lic note in his voice, familiar to those who know him, "the 
two grounds on which you would propose a candidate are 
known — whole-hearted opening to what is now called 'dem- 
ocratic socialism,' and a totally new de-Catholicizing — you 
yourself prefer the term de-Romanizing, but some of us 
think that they mean the same thing: I know you 
don't . . ." Witz has got all this out in one breath and knows 
that his grammar is in knots, "we know, I mean, the sec- 
ond ground is openness to all other religions." 

"And, Eminence," the Camerlengo steps in to relieve 
Witz, "our assessment is that, if you do make such a pro- 
posal on such grounds, there will be an immediate swing 
over. . . ," 

"Away from any Curial consideration, Brother," Masac- 
cio finishes the thought mournfully. 


"And into the backyard of any Radicals, actual or poten- 
tial, grouped around Angelico and Domenico and their 
friends," the Camerlengo draws the practical, political 

The three Cardinals continue their confrontation of 
Thule, each bombarding him, in turn, surrounding him 
with pressure. The Camerlengo picks up the barrage. "Now, 
My Lord Lohngren made it clear he would head such a 
swing," he takes up. "And I appeal to Your Eminence: 
Does any of us think that an Angelico-sponsored nomina- 
tion — much less an Angelico election — would be in the 
best interests of the Church? I ask of you. Think! But that, 
My Lord Cardinal," the Camerlengo says, "is the idea that 
has evolved. Even My Lord Masaccio . . ." he glances over 
at the Cardinal who stares back glassily, "has seen fit to 
throw his weight behind a Lohngren nomination and vote, 
Eminence." That Masaccio would be willing to back Lohn- 
gren, a German and a rival, is an impressive piece of Con- 
clave news. 

The Camerlengo has another twist to his argument com- 
ing. He wishes to throw some line out to Thule. With a 
change of tone he says: "Note, Eminence, that the nom- 
ination of a non-Italian with the blessing of Curial ap- 
proval is already a big step in the direction of Your 
Eminence's will and mentality. Lohngren is non-Roman, 
non-Italian, northern European." 

Thule is quiet. He has an alert look, but seems in no 
way dejected. They see him glance momentarily at Eakins. 
Eakins is the only one who has not spoken, and Thule has 
that look in his eye which says "I know why you are silent." 

"Of course," Witz interjects with emphasis, "the post of 
Secretariat of State would be open for a non -Italian. Or, 
failing that — the political situation here in Italy might re- 
quire an Italian Secretary of State — then one of the chief 
posts in the Secretariat — Eastern Europe, Africa, and the 
U.S.A. — would be amenable to some acceptable arrange- 
ment. And you can take it that the Congregation for the 
Propagation of the Faith, the Prefecture of Economic 
Affairs, and the Institute for Religious Works are included 
in such a proposed arrangement. I don't think that I am 
speaking out of measure . . ." with a glance at the Cam- 

The Camerlengo nods in assent. 

Masaccio looks at the Camerlengo as if for prearranged 

The Final Conclave 195 

permission to mention something further, then turns to 
Thule. "We would, of course, depend on Your Eminence 
to talk seriously with Lynch. Oh, by the way, Eminence, 
no black African votes will be coming your way. They 
have been already to see Angelico," 

Thule clenches his mouth tight at this news. He reflects 
for some seconds, with eyes cast down. At last, just as 
Eakins starts to wriggle uncomfortably in his chair, Thule 
speaks: "It seems to me, Venerable Brethren" — no trace of 
sarcasm in his voice — "that His Eminence Cardinal Eakins 
should also have spoken. After all, he is very well ac- 
quainted with the Ostkardinalaat. And this is not the first 
time that the idea of a pan-European candidate has been 
put forward." 

Nobody in the Office has known for sure if Thule has 
received information about the discussion between Eakins 
and Karewsky, or about those between Calder and the Car- 
dinals in other Eastern European countries. 

Thule pauses for effect. Then: "Now, as regards any of 
my activities which Your Eminence says have been re- 
ported to you, I know you have paralleled them with your 
reports about other Cardinalitial moves." Here he stops 
for a moment To Eakins' relief, Thule gets up. "These 
are grave matters, my Venerable Brothers." Thule looks 
around at the four faces. "Have my sincere thanks, all of 
you, for the frankness and sincerity with which you have 
spoken to me." The others remain seated; but the Cam- 
erlengo, as host, stands up, too. "Be sure, Eminence," Thule 
says to him, "that in no way will I impede the orderly 
procedure of Conclave events. You have my word. How- 
ever, there could be one situation, you know," Thule says 
quietly, pursing his lips, "one situation where any com- 
mitment I give here falls away." The four others look at 
him. "If a substantial body of Italians decide that they will 
not go along with the General Policy based on the LA 
principJe — " the Camerlengo goes slightly ashen at this, 
" — then anything I do, I and my group, would be merely 
to flow with the ensuing movement . . ." he breaks off and 
looks around at them. His eyes are suddenly bright. "Be- 
cause that would, in my opinion, be overwhelming evi- 
dence of the will of the Holy Spirit." 

Witz stands up to his full 6-foot- 1 -inch height, his face 
relaxed. He moves closer to Thule. "Otto," he says, using 
the Cardinal's first name, "we have our differences. But 


you must realize the Italian Cardinals are off-limits to all 
but the Curia. Non-Italian Cardinals are not supposed to 
canvass them. It's the rule. Besides, none of us can afford 
to let this Conclave get out of hand. If we all attack each 
other, if there is no trust at all, and no observance of 
customs, only the Church suffers." He turns around to the 
Camerlengo: "I will leave with the Cardinal. Good night, 
my Brothers." He holds the door open for Thule. The two 

Masaccio is galvanized. He jumps out of his chair and 
rushes over to the Camerlengo's desk. "Have you any in- 
formation about the Eastern Europeans?" he asks him. 
"Do you think he knows about the American Initiative?" 
Then before the Camerlengo can answer, he adds another 
more vehement question: "He wouldn't dare tamper with 
the Italians, would he?" 

"As for the Eastern Europeans," Eakins tells him, "right 
now, I think, My Lord Calder is over with some of them." 
Eakins appears terribly pale, uncommonly tired, even for 
such a strained situation. To the Camerlengo he says: "I 
think that I shall retire. Thanks very much." Then to the 
others: "Rest well!" 

The Camerlengo and Masaccio are left alone. They are 
old acquaintances. The Camerlengo sinks back into his 
swivel chair and lights a cigarette. Masaccio walks up and 
down a few times, then stops: "Do you think the occasion 
has escaped us?" 

His companion blows out a long stream of smoke, draws 
in his breath: "No. Not at all. Not yet, anyway. We just 
have to be careful that both sides don't play off against 
the middle where we stand. You don't want to be a cat's 
paw for Lynch or for Angelico or for Thule." 

Masaccio shudders involuntarily. "To tell you the truth, 
my friend," he says, with a shrug of his shoulders, "I don't 
think Angelico has any ambitions. That's the difficulty 
with the man. People have a dreadful habit of attaching 
destiny to the man who apparently has no ambitions. So 
that when events move favorably for them, it seems events 
themselves and only events have brought them to the fore. 
These seem selfless." 

"I don't think we have much to worry about, really," the 
Camerlengo says after a pause. "You see, whatever ten- 
dency may exist among the Italians — and I doubt any real 
independent tendency is there — the prospect of a Ger- 

The Final Conclave 197 

man . . . well, let's wait and see." Actually, the most un- 
likely candidate in Conclave 82 is a German. A German 
would normally be totally unacceptable to the Italian peo- 
ple and to the citizens of the Pope's diocese — Rome. 
Further, a German coming from capitalist Germany would 
be anathema for both Communist and Socialist parties in 
Italy. But the Camerlengo feels that, with a worse threat 
facing them, the Conclave would take Lohngren, if only as 
the lesser of evils. . . . 

"But that's just the difficulty, Eminence," Masaccio's 
riposte is almost impatient. He frowns, frustration in his 
voice. "We've waited. Dio miol We've waited this long! 
And now — well — we are beginning to see. And frankly I 
don't like what I see." 

The Camerlengo's pre-Conclave strategy as far as most 
people have noticed has been to wait, to calm fears, to 
solicit opinions. Behind scenes he has worked with Eakins 
and others to try and head off Franzus and Thule. And he 
has done much else. But Masaccio is not to know this. 

"We can always see the will of the Lord in all this, 
y'know," the Camerlengo says jokingly, but with a hint of 

Masaccio looks at him a moment, then smiles. "In fine 
finali> that is the only reason why we can go to sleep at 
night in all this huggermugger and excitement and pres- 
sure, my Brother. There's always that!" He shakes his head 
and makes as if to leave, then stops, and says over his 
shoulder: "But one would like, now and then anyway, to 
give God's will a — what's this your own expression was 
once? — 'a little gentle shove with the thumb.' Good night, 
Your Eminence!" 

Angelico has gone over to his old friend, Cardinal Domeni- 
co. Domenico told Angelico to fetch him from the Chapel, 
if he needed him. As they both leave, they pass Walker 
still sitting stiffly on his throne. 

"Does he see us?" Angelico whispers. 

As if in answer, Walker opens his eyes, stares at them 
for an instant, then lifts his right hand and makes the sign 
of the Cross in mid-air. His eyes close again. 

"It is probably his blessing," Domenico whispers softly. 

"That would be news," Angelico answers without rancor, 
when they are in the corridor. "By the way, there is no 


specific purpose for this visit, beyond getting some per- 
sonal advice," They reach Domenico's apartment and sit 
facing each other. Angelico speaks quietly. 

"I have just been touched again by some sort of invis- 
ible, black hand, Father, and my spirit is still quivering 
for some unfathomable reason." 

For years, Angelico has known Domenico as "Father." 
Domenico's Cardinalate, conferred after Angelico's own — 
when Angelico was fifty-two and Domenico was sixty-four 
— did not alter anything between these two men. Now, 
Angelico wants to explain why he feels uneasy. 

"We had a short conversation," Angelico goes on, "the 
Africans and I. And at the end, a suggestion — a mere sug- 
gestion, mind you, nothing more, and an honest suggestion 
at that, made by Azande — brought back all of my old 
fears. You remember?" 

Domenico remembers. He knew those fears. Ever since 
Angelico had entered the Vatican at Paul 6's bidding and 
worked with the Pope, Domenico had been a regular re- 
cipient of Angelico's confidences — mostly about his fears. 
Angelico had been a favorite of Paul's. For ten years, until 
Angelico became too vulnerable to continue on in the Vat- 
ican, he had served as a Vatican aide. Angelico, with no 
fear for what people thought of him, had been used by Paul 
6 to effect some of the most earthshaking changes ever 
seen within the highest echelons of Vatican bureaucracy. 
In the Vatican, when the enemies you have made are such 
well established one-man power-centers as the venerable 
Cardinal Ottaviani — men whose views are much felt even 
in this Conclave, in spite of the fact that they are "retired" 
— you do not sleep easily. 

Angelico's Vatican days have not been happy ones, then. 
But in some respects, they have been very heady. Power is 
heady. And corrupting. Angelico has learned that great 
lesson, painfully. 

"You don't think, do you," Domenico asks him, "that 
there is any possibility of your being co-opted into nom- 
ination? Do you?" 

Angelico starts to shake his head, then stops. "Not ex- 
actly, Father." His eyebrows are knotted in puzzlement. 
"Unless Thule really sabotages the General Policy and a 
stampede to the right starts. In that case . . ." then break- 
ing off his soliloquy and looking back at Domenico, "no, 
Father. It's not so much the danger of that." His face is 

The Final Conclave 199 

now clear of the puzzlement, as if he had dismissed a dis- 
turbing problem. "I have been formed and trained to deal 
with such things. No. It is just the old specter. I never 
thought that it could chill me to that extent." 

Angelico had undergone a deep personal crisis during his 
first twelve months at the Vatican. It was a crisis which few 
of his confreres and none of his subordinates could guess 
at. The young Monsignore, as he was then, seemed so 
forceful, so sure of himself, so ruthless and downright 
when it came to concrete decisions about personnel and 
policy implementation. But the sudden access to power, 
the daily familiarity with all the chief pieces on the huge 
chessboard across which the Vatican plays the game of 
nations with politics, finances, religion, personal dynasties, 
worldwide Church interests, all that, together with Angeli- 
co's own deep involvement in elaborating, expounding, 
organizing, and implementing several decisions of Pope 
Paul 6 — it was this weight of responsibility that brought 
on his crisis. 

Angelico could not reconcile that deep and weighty in- 
volvement with his previous attitudes. He could not easily 
return each night to his private devotions after having 
spent his day in the hammer-and-tongs interplay of per- 
sonalities, power moves, world issues, petty jealousies, occa- 
sional corruption, and naked hostilities that his job entailed. 
Domenico had helped him over that first crisis; but he 
knew Angelico's wounds were deeper than even Angelico 

"What is it precisely that bothers you now — or do you 
know more or less?" Domenico asks after a pause. 

"Father, it is just an extension of my old trouble. As far 
as I am concerned, my beliefs and personal devotion to 
Our Lord require me to believe that any of my actions 
can be or should be — not merely Christlike as the old 
books admonish us — but actually quite adoptable by Jesus 
himself as his own actions. You used to say: How else can 
Jesus be universal? Isn't it by means of our acting in that 
way? And by as many human beings as possible acting in 
that way? So that their actions are homogenized and as- 
similated to the actions and behavior of Jesus, so much so 
that his grace can make all their actions his, in the real 
order of moral effect and supernatural grace? This is build- 
ing up the mystical body of Christ to its full dimension, 
you used to say. 


"Well, the mere mentioning of the central power of 
Christ's Church in direct relation to me — and even in that 
short conversation with the blacks — that made me shud- 
der! How can a Supreme Pontiff save his soul? Be Christ- 
like, I mean? And that goes as well for those who work 
near him, as I have had to do, and shall again probably 
have to do. Even in lovely Turin or Florence or Venice, I 
find it difficult, more difficult every day." Angel ico has 
come directly to grips with central problem of the "Church 
of Constantine" — the melding of worldly power with the 
Church, and of Churchly power with worldly affairs. 
"Power does not taste good to you?" 
"No, Father. It doesn't. I thought it would. It doesn't. 
At all." 

"All right. Let's call a spade a spade. We could not be 
sincere, if we did not admit that power here in our Rome 
is quite like power in, say, Washington, in Moscow, in 
Peking, in Zurich. As in Washington, power here rests on 
an ethical code, a reasoned faith, expressed in dogmas of 
this worldly success. As in Moscow and Peking, our power 
vibrates with passion of the heart, a spontaneous and emo- 
tional motivation giving us as many reasons for living as 
for dying. And, of course, this power in our Rome, the 
power of the bureaucracy, subjects all individuals to a 
heartless, impersonal, at times even baleful mechanism," 
"Yes! Yes!" Angelico picks up the other man's thought. 
"Precisely! It is these forces I find almost demonic. They 
are too blind for any pity, too gargantuan to be controlled 
by something as puny as personal ambition, too fascinat- 
ing to be forsaken for the prosaic fate of mere survival. 
Almost demonic! Because these forces make no distinction 
between right and wrong, discard all weak things, have no 
time for feeling, refer the brain continually to the bottom 
line of the yearly audit, dictate policy decisions according 
to the unrelenting question 'cui bono?' (who is going to 
profit by this measure?), take death as failure, and grind 
out the long, shining avenues of their successes over the 
puny, piecemeal careers and personalities of all individuals 
who may be momentarily lifted up in their surge, but are 
inevitably buried in their wake." 

Angelico rises and begins to walk to and fro. "Let me 
put you a question, Father. You may not wish to answer it. 
But it is on my mind." He stops pacing and looks at the 

The Final Conclave 201 

floor. "How many of the College of Cardinals escape dam- 
age to their spirit from all this?'* 

"I know," Domenico breaks in a little wearily. "I've made 
the calculation myself from time to time. Man by man. I 
suppose you could safely say that a minimum of forty 
percent of the Electors are firm and genuine believers in 
the Christian faith. They believe that there is one God, 
that the Son of God was and is Jesus of Nazareth; that 
Jesus died for all men's sins and rose again alive, after 
being truly dead; that all who believe in Jesus will live 
immortally with God after their own death, and that only 
through Jesus can any human being attain that happiness; 
that Jesus, before he disappeared from human sight, estab- 
lished an ecclesial presence among men to last as long as 
the human universe lasts; and that this ecclesial presence is 
centered around the Bishop of Rome who is and will al- 
ways be the only official and personal Vicar of Jesus 
among men. 

"Another group of the Electors, roughly one-third of the 
total, do not really believe any of this. They profess loyalty 
to these beliefs. But this is a matter merely of words, 
though they regard this exterior conformity as necessary 
and valuable. After all, it has enabled them to flourish as 
personalities and as powers to be reckoned with. For them, 
their rank as Cardinals and their functions as Papal Elec- 
tors have the value of gilt-edged membership cards in a 
highly privileged club with its own mystique. And, at that 
high level of power, a mystique is most useful to drown 
the scruples of conscience or to avoid the boredom of 

"In between these two groups there is a minimum of, 
say, about twenty-five percent who hedge their bets. They 
are never in a hurry to change, but never so hidebound 
as to champion a perpetual status quo. In theology, con- 
servative. In politics, open to gradual development. In 
morality, cautious. In heroism, of temperate enthusiasm. 
These are the ones who do not really know" — Domenico 
emphasizes the word — "so they are the gentle ones, be- 
cause prudent agnostics, who hope that the teachings of 
their faith are correct. They would probably choose to die 
rather than deny those teachings. But they would prefer 
to go on living as long as they can, because perhaps after 
all the teachings may not mean quite what they seem to 


Angelico is stock-still, staring at Domenico, a look of 
the same puzzlement on his face as before. But there is a 
trace of some relief dawning there too. "So many have the 
same crisis in their belief ?" he murmurs. 

"And some do not keep their belief. You have. Be satis- 
fled. Now I think that you had better get back to your 
rooms. You will have visitors coming. If you have any 
time to spare later, call me on the telephone. If I don't 
answer, you know where to find me." Domenico has more 
prayers to say. He will be in the Chapel. 

"Meanwhile," Domenico stands up, "take this with you 
as a thought: Whoever is elected Pope, whoever he be, 
you and I and he and all the others know the sad but sim- 
ple fact. The new Pope can do very little more than over- 
see developments which he neither initiates nor directs, 
and which he rarely sees to their end. The thing is too big 
for any one mortal span." They move slowly toward the 
door of Domenico's apartment. "Very few Popes — and 
you know this as well as the next man — have made any 
real difference to the substance of the Church. The Church 
gets such a Pope once or twice every five hundred years 
or so. And even then!" 

Domenico opens the door and looks down the corridor 
as if gazing at some imaginary hall filled with present and 
past Papal candidates. "The best candidates usually never run 
for election. The worst have seldom won an election. The 
holiest are rarely elected. The satisfactory ones were no 
more than good stewards. We've had some shameful ones, 
the 'black Popes.' But really they wrought petty ills to the 
Church's property and good name, grandiose harm to in- 
numerable spirits, and the saddest evil to their own souls. 
The wisest — not always the holiest, by the way — " Domeni- 
co throws a look at Angelico, "could at most and at their 
best moments, watch carefully. As a fisherman might 
watch for a slight moving shift in the winds, they wait for 
a message from the Spirit that moves the community of 
believers. And then they laboriously edge the rudder of 
state a few notches this way or that in order to comply 
with the new direction." 

Domenico, the wise spiritual father, advisor to many 
great men, has spoken the kind of simple truth that gath- 
ers all the complexities and all the noisy issues, and 
allows them to rest in silence for just an instant. Then he 

The Final Conclave 203 

looks at Angelico again. "Hurry! You'll be late. Stay in 

"Whoever heard of a Bolognese who was a good sailor 
— or a good fisherman?" Angelico smiles gaily at his own 
joke on himself, and walks away toward his quarters. 

Domenico smiles at Angelico's resilience, and steps back 
over his own threshold. 

In spirit they have both stepped back into the realities 
of Conclave. 

For a few moments Domenico stands there. Then he moves 
over to the night table by his bed, glances at the numbers 
directory, takes up the phone and dials. A voice answers: 
"Uccello here." 

"Eminence! Domenico! Would you have a few moments 
to spare before retiring?" 

"Momentito, Eminence!" Domenico can hear him talk- 
ing to someone; then, "Immediately, Eminence! Immedi- 
ately!" Domenico hangs up, stands a moment thinking, 
then sits down. 

A few minutes later, Uccello arrives. 

"Well now, Eminence, what is on your mind?" 

Uccello is sixty-four-years-old, formerly Bishop of 
Maleto, a Cardinal since 1974, and now posted to a big 
metropolis. The job of doing something about its 4,106 
clergymen, its two million Catholics, its churches and con- 
vents, has given Uccello a deep knowledge of the social 
problems facing the Vatican in modern urban life. His city 
is a microcosm of every other big city that holds a Catholic 
population. A moderate Traditionalist in his theology, Uc- 
cello nevertheless has long been convinced that some 
changes must be made. But his transfer to a city from the 
calm of Maleto has given him a much more urgent idea 
of the dimensions of the Church's problem. 

"Paolo," Domenico begins familiarly, "I must be frank 
with you. Angelico has just left me." 

"Ah!" Uccello quietly exclaims, as if hearing the an- 
swer to a puzzle. "Appunto! Now I understand." 

"Believe me, son, I don't think you do, or that you could 
quite understand. Angelico has no ambitions, at least not 
of the kind that interests us all in these days. But he may 
be facing too great a crisis. I say that much as his spiritual 


"Paolo, tell me about the Secret Reports" Uccello 
catches his breath suddenly, taken off guard. 

"Now, in asking about the Reports" Domenico con- 
tinues, "I am not speaking only or even mainly as spiritual 
advisor to anyone. But I think that I should know. At 
this stage of things, it is very late and very dangerous for 
a majority of us to be taken by surprise. You know, I sup- 
pose, that more than one surprise is possible tomorrow?" 
The hesitation continues on Uccello 's face. 

"Believe me, I think that I should be brought up to date," 
Domenico presses on. 

Uccello expels the air from his lungs as if in surrender. 
There is no deal here. Trust is rare in these circumstances, 
but Domenico is a rare man; and Uccello judges that he 
does urgently need to know what he is asking to be 

Domenico's phone interrupts. He lifts the receiver. 

"Pronto! Yes, Your Eminence. ... No! No, Not yet. 
As a matter of fact, Eminence, I am here with a mutual 
friend. . . . What is that? . . . Well, frankly, that is pre- 
cisely what we are discussing now. ... On the contrary, I 
think Your Eminence should. . . . Well, bring him along 
too. . . . Yes! Yes! Now. ... Not at all, Eminence." 

Domenico hangs up and turns to Uccello. "Ni Kan and 
Yiu are coming over — do not worry! They know about 
these Reports. They will help." 

In a minute or two a light knock at the door announces 
the arrival of Ni Kan and Yiu. 

"Take a seat, Eminences. You all know each other, I 
think. And, tonight, I am the ignorant one. I am silent but 
full of questions." 

One of Domenico's great gifts is his ability to put peo- 
ple at their ease and evoke an atmosphere of trust and calm. 
He quickly brings Ni Kan and Yiu up to date, and then 
turns again to Uccello. 

"Frankly," Uccello says with a deprecating gesture of 
his hands, "I don't know what the Camerlengo is going to 
say or do. I know he doesn't want the Reports or any 
news about them circulated. But, for what it's worth, here's 
what I know. 

"Since June 1977, the Secretariat has had these Reports 
— four to be exact. One about the Soviets, one about Latin 
America, one about thejtalian Communists, and one about 
financial conditions and projections." 

The Final Conclave 205 

"We know of these," Ni Kan nods at him almost 
apologetically. "But we also know of a Report drawn up 
for the Camerlengo on his own orders.'* 

Uccello is obviously surprised, as he whirls around to 
face Ni Kan: "And you know its subject matter?" 

"His Eminence Cardinal Thule and the theologians," Ni 
Kan says unbl in kingly. 

"I have seen a copy," Yiu adds. "I think it's very rele- 

"So let's begin with that last-named Report, Eminence," 
Domenico says. Uccello has not seen it. They all fix their 
eyes on Yiu. 

The Report, Yiu tells them, is a summary of a strategy 
proposal drawn up on the basis of contributions made by 
several European and American theologians, some of the 
so-called "new theologians." These contributions had been 
in the form of theological notes and had started in 1972, 
the year that thirty-four such "new theologians" — among 
them the most vocal ones for the last decade, Hans Kiing 
and John Baptist Metz from Germany, Dutchman Edward 
Schillebeeckx, Charles Curran and John L. McKenzie of 
the United States, Gregory Baum from Canada,, among 
others — issued a Declaration about what they called "stag- 
nations" in the Church. In that Declaration, they outlined 
five ways to get rid of that stagnation. Briefly, as Yiu 
understood it, those theologians were advising all Roman 
Catholics to organize themselves in such a way as to bur- 
row within the Church and force the Pope, his Roman 
Curia, and the Cardinals to introduce basic changes. 

The tactic was to be able to confront the authorities 
with the fait accompli that could not be undone. This was 
to be done in so many areas of faith, morals, and religious 
practice that they would totally revolutionize the Church 
before most clergy and lay people understood what had 
happened. If, for instance, some Catholic bishops could be 
induced to ordain women as priests and allow them to 
function as priests, then this fait accompli would, in their 
view, call for a rethinking of the Vatican's attitudes. 

This strategy and tactic were to be applied to the most 
basic elements of Roman Catholic faith and practice, af- 
fecting the Sacraments themselves, and leaving no element 
untouched. They were to be applied to priestly celibacy 
as a test case; and then, after successfully abolishing 
clerical celibacy as a universal law, to all other issues — 


Papal Infallibility, abortion, homosexuality, intercom- 
munion with other Christians, and so on. And, departing 
from the substance of the Report for a moment, Yiu adds, 
"We know that in Holland and in France and elsewhere, 
priests have already married and, in violation of Church 
law, still remain at their posts in parishes where the parish- 
ioners will accept them in their married status." 

After the success of the test case on priestly celibacy, 
the strategy called for the formulation of a sort of pact of 
union with Protestant Churches. This could be brought 
about point by point: leave in abeyance all defined dogmas 
concerning the Virgin Mary (Assumption and Immaculate 
Conception); relegate the question of Papal Infallibility to 
later discussions and not require anybody to profess it now 
as an article of faith; declare that Christians can "believe" 
in the Bible while they deny that the Bible tells them any- 
thing of real past history; throw open for renewed inter- 
pretation the whole question of the Real Presence of Jesus 
in the Sacrament of the Eucharist; allow divorce, con- 
traception, masturbation, and homosexuality under cer- 
tain conditions, declare vasectomy and hysterectomy 
legitimate as contraceptives, premarital sex permissible 
under certain conditions; declare that capitalism is irrecon- 
cilable with Christianity. 

Within the Church there would be a call for the dis- 
mantling of the Roman Curia, transferring to individual 
bishops in their own dioceses all the decisions that affect 
their own localities. Major decisions affecting many dio- 
ceses and the whole Church would be decided by an inter- 
national synod of bishops over which the Pope would 
preside. There would be a complete restructuring of the 
Papacy, from the way the Pope is elected to total denial 
of the Pope's primary function as Vicar of Jesus and 
Bishop of Rome, in favor of something like the function of 
a chairman of the board, but no longer as personally en- 
dowed with authority and infallibility. 

Yiu rounds off his account by ticking off the agenda 
for achieving this vast change: 

1. Gain control over affairs parish by parish, diocese 
by diocese, so that finally a majority of priests and 
bishops would be in agreement with the aims of 
the program. 

2. Gain the maximum possible number of adherents 

The Final Conclave 207 

among seminary teachers and university profes- 
sors, among publishers and editors, reporters and 
writers for magazines and diocesan papers. 

3. Conferences of Bishops, national, international, 
and regional were to be the objects of special at- 
tention. The more the members attending such con- 
ferences from all parts of a country and, in some 
cases, from many parts of the world, were affected, 
the faster their influence would spread. 

4. Organize meetings, first on the national level, then 
on the international level and regional level, at 
which growing numbers of priests and bishops 
would attend together with laymen. At these meet- 
ings, the elements of the formulation about the new 
format for the Church would be expounded and 
discussed. Gatherings of Charismatic Catholics 
and other Christians, General Congregations of 
Religious Orders, these and other such occasions 
should be attended by "observers" intent on the 

5. At certain meetings on the national and interna- 
tional level, only priests and bishops would attend. 
The idea was to "snowball" this tactic until one 
day they could hold an international meeting 
equivalent in its attendance by bishops — and at 
least some Cardinals — to the composition of a 
General Council of the Church. Only in this case, 
it would not be the Roman Curia and the Pope 
who would call such a Council. This was the most 
grandiose variation of the fait accompli tactic. For, 
faced with such an extensive insurrection, what 
could Rome do? Excommunicate everyone? Ridic- 

As Yiu finished up his account, Ni Kan adds his own 
remarks. "What has struck us — myself and His Eminence 
Yiu and our friends — is the frequency and importance 
with which the name of My Lord Cardinal Thule, My 
Lord Cardinal Lynch, My Lord Cardinal Buff, and My 
Lord Cardinal Antonello turn up again and again in the 
pages of this Report. I am not surprised — neither would 
you be, I'm sure — to find Arceo of Cuernavaca, Helder y 
Camera of Recife, Gerety of New Jersey in the United 
States, Hurley of South Africa, Enrico Bartocelli of Lucca, 


John Zoa of Cameroon, and bishops of that sort." These 
men are all known as "liberal-minded'* bishops. But what 
surprised Ni Kan was to find Cardinals mentioned as in- 
volved. He adds that anyone acquainted with and aware 
of the tactics used by Mao's government in China to detach 
the Chinese clergy from Rome, and to destroy Rome's in- 
fluence with the people, would not be taken in by the 
falsity and the ultimate intent of this program and strategy. 

"Well, now we all know what Thule has in mind," 
Domenico remarks in a tone so sharp that the other three 
heads swing around sharply in disbelief; Domenico rarely 
uses a deprecatory tone about anyone, much less about 
dignitaries of the Church. 

"Do you really think they are trying to force a Council 
on the Pope and the Curia?" Uccello's question is directed 
at them all. 

"Look, Paolo," Domenico is calm and serious. "It's been 
tried plenty of times before. There was a man called 
Marsilius of Padua who died in 1343. He held that a 
Council of the Church was superior to the Pope. And 
after him, John Gerson, the all-powerful chancellor of 
Paris University, who died in 1429, had the same idea. 
And then we had those Gallicans in the seventeenth, eigh- 
teenth, and nineteenth centuries, all trying to propagate 
the same thing. Do you know that in the year 1682, no 
less than seven archbishops, twenty-six bishops, and thirty- 
eight theologians, all Frenchmen, declared the Pope to be 
at the beck and call — and recall — of a General Council? 
And they said the Pope's authority and infallibility were 
only the authority and infallibility of the bishops in the 
Church when you put them all together. Pope Alexander 8 
condemned the lot of them. And now all those men are 
forgotten; and those who ignore all that history are at it 
all over again. If you read history you will find a whole 
gaggle of theologians — Theodoric of Niem, Theodoric of 
Vrie, Herman of Langestein, and many, many others — 
who are all as dead and as forgotten now as the Currans 
and the Baums and the Kiings and the Metzes and the 
Schillebeeckx will be in a hundred years' time. 

"What bothers me is the presence of His Eminence 
Cardinal Thule and the other Cardinals on that side of 
the fence. This has gone much further than I thought." 
There is a short silence among the Cardinals. 

"When I add all this information to what I know or 

The Final Conclave * 209 

hear about other Secret Reports" Uccello finally says, 
breaking the silence, "I really don't think the Camerlengo 
knows what he is doing! Or he is being too clever for his 

"Accurate and clear ideas, eh?" It is Yiu with a glint 
of humor. 

"Seriously, my Brothers!" Uccello exclaims quietly, "seri- 
ously! You two" — looking at Ni Kan and Yiu — "apparently 
have read the Reports. Your Eminence" — speaking to 
Domenico — "has not. They create quite a problem when 
put together with what we've just heard from my Lord 
Cardinal Ni Kan." 

The Report on the Soviets, in effect, contains a sub- 
stantial and sweeping offer to the Vatican by the Soviets, 
coming both indirectly through their puppets in Czecho- 
slovakia and Hungary, and directly from Moscow. Peace 
pact, alliance, agreement on mutual disengagement — it can 
be called anything pleasing. 

The Soviets would promise greater freedom for Church- 
men, dismantling of all anti-Catholic organizations, the 
cessation of all antireligious propaganda. In return for this, 
the Soviets want the Vatican to allow and, in one way or 
another, to bless the efforts of Christian Marxists, and — at 
the very least — to see that Roman Catholics in their satel- 
lite countries will no longer have the impression that Marx- 
ist ideas are any more irreconcilable with Catholicism 
than is capitalism. They want at the minimum a moratori- 
um on all open opposition and criticism from the Vatican. 

"What do you think they have now?" Ni Kan asks 
archly and with a bitterness born of experience. 

"Well, whatever." Uccello goes on. "The Report on the 
Italian Communists is along the same lines, only it con- 
cerns particularly the Italian and, to a lesser degree, also 
the French Communists. It is an appeal by Marxists for 
collaboration in unifying the people for a wholesale eco- 
nomic reform and refurbishment of these two countries 
industrially and socially. It is distinctly anti-U.S., but offers 
a nonalignment position with the U.S.S.R. In return, they 
promise that good Communists can be good Catholics. 
And vice versa." 

"Now, I think I know the Latin American Report better 
than anyone else here," Yiu interrupts. "Cardinals Franzus 
and Thule have been — are — working on me. I don't know 
the sources of that Report, but someone has put together 


a collection of statements by Latin American priests, bish- 
ops, and some four or five Cardinals. All the statements 
are reactions to and comments on the contents of the Re- 
ports on the Soviets and on the Italian Communists," 

"Who communicated these Reports — or their contents — 
to the Latin Americans?" Uccello asks. 

"No." Domenico answers as if he had just heard some- 
body's suggestion. "No. It's not Giacomo." Archbishop 
Giacomo Belli, Papal Nuncio in the area, could have been 
everyone's most logical suspect because of his physical 

"Actually, it was no Latin American," Yiu goes on. 
"The Reports came through the Missionaries — priests and 
nuns — of El Salvador." 

"What were the reactions and statements like?" Domeni- 
co asks. 

"Most favorable. On certain conditions, the Latin Ameri- 
can clergy would agree to the same general proposals of 

"What conditions?" 

"Simply two; that our Brother Cardinals from Eastern 
Europe agreed; and that such an acceptance by the Vati- 
can of an open-door alliance would not disrupt the 
Church's economic position immediately. They all stress 
the immediate part of the condition." 

"Do you think that Franzus and Thule have seen these 
Reports?" Domenico is insisting now. 

"I can answer that, I think," Yiu intervenes. "Because 
I know that copies were in Manila on their way to Peking. 
And if that is so, you can be sure that copies are in Mos- 
cow. And if in Moscow, you can be sure that Franzus saw 
them. And if Franzus saw them, Thule saw them." 

Domenico has not yet established the connection he is 
seeking to clarify. Two parts puzzle him. Or rather he 
lacks answers to two questions. First, is the Thule group 
banking on the effect of these Reports to force the Con- 
clave outcome over and beyond the agreed General Policy? 
That's a grave thought. Second, why is the Camerlengo not 
communicating any of this information to the Electors? 

Uccello knows the Camerlengo and his character better 
than most. "The Camerlengo is absolutely confident — at 
least he was this morning — that most probably a General 
Policy candidate can be elected without much trouble. Or, 

The Final Conclave 211 

failing that, some good pan-European like Lohngren or 
Garcia or even Witz can be proposed and elected." 

"I must thank Your Eminences very, very much. I think 
we must presume that any alliance between Thule and 
Franzus will seek to profit from these Reports J' Domenico 
rises. "You have all been extremely frank; you know I 
will not betray the confidentiality of my sources. Why don't 
we all get some rest now?" 

Yiu and Ni Kan are already on their feet and moving 
toward the door. Uccello is the last to leave. The two 
Asians are already gone when he turns to look at Do- 

'Tell me, Father, can you envisage circumstances when 
you would have to make use, public use I mean, of this 

Domenico 's eyes are grave. "Only if the most foolish of 
things were to take place." 

"I see. Do you envisage that possibility now? In this 
Conclave? Tomorrow, for instance?" 

Domenico moves over to a small table where his Breviary 
and Crucifix lie. "We are living in the most extraordinary 
of times, Paolo. A strange spirit is loose and roaming freely 
in the Church, not only in the streets of the city but in 
the chancery, in the sacristy, in the bishop's palace, in the 
Pope's household, even in the Sanctuary itself." He pauses. 
"The smoke Pope Paul spoke about, you know . . ." he 
breaks off and looks at Uccello. Paul 6 had spoken about 
the "smoke and darkness of Satan entering the Church." 
"High Churchmen, Bishops, and Cardinals, seem to go off 
at a tangent without any forewarning." Then, looking 
away, "Each one of us must do what he must do. You. I. 
Thule. All of us. To Jesus we all answer only as individ- 

Uccello senses the regret and the determination behind 
the older man's thought. He turns to leave. At the door 
he finds Domenico behind him. 

"I think I will go and say some prayers, Paolo." 

Back in Kand's apartment, Karewsky and Garcia continue 
to brief him on the essentials of the Reports, 

"We come now to the economic conditions of the 
Church," Karewsky says to Kand. 

This part of the Report deals with the Vatican's Prefec- 


ture of Economic Affairs — the PECA — and with the Insti- 
tute for Religious Works— the IRW. 

"Is it competent and complete?" asks Kand. 
"If the people in charge there know anything, it is 
money," answers Garcia with a slow smile that turns to 
stone. "Now, if you ask about their recommendations and 
the recommendations of the Camerlengo which are put 
together with the others, they're something else!" 

"And as for their faith," Karewsky slips the words in 
subtly, "that's something else again. Later, you can read 
the parts in the General Framework that deal with the 
changeover in investments. Let me give you a summary. 
You can read the details later." 

In the late sixties, Paul 6 decided to transfer the major 
portion of Vatican investments into American stocks and 
real estate. Heading the operations was an Italian financier, 
Michele Sindona. While he was in charge, the Vatican re- 
portedly suffered losses of over one billion dollars. "This, 
however," Karewsky waves his hand in a gesture of dis- 
missal, "is not the point. All those years, including this 
year, Vatican investments continued to pour into the 
United States. The point is that, whatever be the future 
policy of the next Pope — whether he opens Europe and 
Latin America to Marxism or not — Vatican financial 
sinews will be in the only place left on this earth where 
they can survive healthily. 

"But this means that the economic life of the Vatican, of 
its Church, is tied to the economic policies of the United 
States. And economic policies of the United States deter- 
mine the foreign policy of the United States." 

"And that must mean," Kand interjects, "that Vatican 
policy has to, but has to, conform to United States foreign 
policy — at least along general lines," 

"You know what you must do with eggs," Karewsky 
throws his hands into the air, "if you wish to make an 
omelette, my friend!" 

It is clear from the information contained in the Finan- 
cial Report that the administration of Paul 6 has tied the 
hands of the next Vatican administration. And this be- 
comes clear when Kand and the other two cover the next 
parts of the General Framework. Garcia summarizes for 

"The economic policy of the Vatican hinges on certain 
contingencies, and on certain assumptions about those con- 

The Final Conclave 213 

tingencies. A prime contingency is United States policy. 
That policy," explains Garcia, "is currently called 'unilat- 
eralism'; a three-sided complex. Usually, the three sides 
are taken to be the United States, Europe, and Japan. The 
United States would wish it that way. But that is not how 
things are seen working out. 

"As things stand now, the three sides of that economic 
complex are the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. 

"According to the Position Paper > for the United States 
(and for the Vatican, therefore) Western Europe is seen 
as ceasing, in the coming five years, to be economically 
and politically autonomous. Its democracies, legitimate and 
illegitimate, will cease to be. Despite any attempt by the 
United States and Japan and others to head it off, Russian 
hegemony will run from Vladivostok to Cornwall, from 
Kirunna in the Arctic Circle to the warm Mediterranean 
waters lapping the shores of Sicily. 

"The only 'accident' of history that could foreseeably 
prevent that hegemony would be either a nuclear war, or 
revolution in the U.S.S.R. But by revolution is meant not 
any mere change of Politburo Chairman, not any party 
purge, but a genuine revolution: bloody, universal, destruc- 
tive, upheaving and shattering the entire Soviet system. 
A revolution of the many 'have-nots' against the few des- 
potic 'haves.* But such a revolution is considered to be as 
unlikely as surrender by the Israelis to the PLO. And nu- 
clear war is not envisaged quite yet. 

"The projection runs on: Having acquired the technology 
and business know-how, the Soviets could float a con- 
vertible ruble based on their access to major gold supplies 
in the Soviet Union and in South Africa, thus challenging 
the dollar, swamping the West German mark and the Swiss 
franc, absorbing all the soft currencies, according as infla- 
tion and economic depression spread all over Europe. In 
the next five years, there will be very little likelihood that 
military force, the unthinkable 'midwife of history 1 as Karl 
Marx termed it, will enter the picture either as World War 
III, or even as something lesser. 

"But, as bleak as the picture is painted in the General 
Framework, it would not seem to be the end of the world 
for the Vatican mind when Russian tanks rumble un- 
opposed over West Germany and down over the Plain of 
Lombardy, and when Russian Soviet commissars are resi- 
dent in Bonn, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Madrid, Stockholm, 


Athens, and Ankara. All major Swiss banks have been re- 
structuring their facilities so as to be able to service their 
clients overseas, say in one or both of the Americas, in 
Japan, and in Hong Kong. 

"Money supply is reckoned in the General Framework 
to be the pincers that would inexorably hold Western Eu- 
rope firmly down on the unyielding anvil of economics, 
while Marxism will flatten out old Europe's petty differ- 
ences in political systems and social practice and class 
distinctions, fashioning its nationalisms into a controlled 
delta of subservient populations. The opinion of some 
Vatican officials is cited according to which there is a 
'conspiracy of silence' among Western government leaders 
who are well aware of where their nations are heading. 
But they keep up appearances and indulge in the shadow- 
play of local politics. 11 

Before his companions can go on to, give Kand the main 
conclusions of the General Framework, he gives his own 
down-to-earth summary. "The jig is up," Kand says quietly, 
looking at Garcia and Karewsky. "Finita la commedia. 
That's what they are telling us, isn't it?" 

"That, I presume, is a statement of fact, not a question, 
my Brother," Garcia remarks with a slightly wan air. "In 
the General Framework Paper," he goes on to summarize, 
"the United States is pictured as settling on a deal with 
the Soviets; a tacit deal for a while, then quite explicitly. 
Now," he concludes, "the Vatican has tied its fortune 
economically and financially and politically to the United 

"A few other subjects," Kand interrupts Garcia, "before 
we finish up. Israel for instance?" 

"Already that is a secondary subject," Karewsky re- 
sponds. "Doomed, at least according to the Paper. But 
not doomed to extinction, mind you. They might prefer 
that, our Israeli friends, Samson-like or Masada-like. But 
doomed to become a tenth-rate Levantine power swamped 
by the financial flood, economic power, and demographic 
spread of Islamic nations, notably the Saudis. The Israelii 
will not be able to compete. In the value-world of money 
and firepower where they have placed their destiny, they 
are doomed to lose out and sink to their due level. Chris- 
tians, especially Americans, will not go on feeling guilty 
or responsible for all time for things they never did, or 
for a country which is not their own. So the flow will stop. 

The Final Conclave 215 

And, in any case, the United States will not be able to 
afford to keep its Near East mistress." 

"In short, my Eminent Brothers," Kand sits back in his 
chair, "in short, the final meaning for this Conclave of the 
General Framework and the other Papers is that the next 
Pope will preside over an entirely different world." 

"Except that he won't be exactly presiding. He'll prob- 
ably be pilgrimming." 

"Pilgrimming? What does that mean?" Kand leans for- 
ward. "A pilgrim? The Pope? To where? For what? As a 
prisoner? What do you mean?" The other two laugh good- 
naturedly at the rush of questions from Kand. 

"Well, for openers," Karewsky begins, "where wi!J Chris- 
tianity be centered? In the U.S.A.? lust think! — by the 
way, you can read this in Position Paper 6 — under the title 
of 'The U.S.A. religiously considered and the American 
way of life/ as they call it." He gives a summary of the 
Paper. The United States as a socio-political entity was 
set up more or less as a vast grille or iron network of laws, 
rights, obligations, checks, and balances. Anything that did 
not dissolve and melt into or could not be soldered onto 
that grille was doomed from the beginning of the Ameri- 
can experience to fall through the holes into the kitchen 
midden of history. 

"Position Paper 6 states that with the passage of Ameri- 
can history, formal religion, then any kind of religious 
morality, has shown that it cannot be melted into the 
grille or soldered onto it. And so, one by one, any moral 
or religious principles in the public life of the nation had 
to drop out of sight and mind into the nothingness of that 
rubbish heap of past things, until all that remains today 
is a practically unworkable system of legal methods, laws, 
and constitutional balances, imposed on 220 million peo- 
ple, most of whom are still believers in some religious 

"So the whole thing must come apart at the seams final- 
ly. Or rather that grille will become too oppressive for the 
mass of the people. They will revolt and not know where 
to turn without destroying that grille — the American sys- 
tem and way of life. So the United States could not be the 
center of Roman Catholicism." 

"And in all honesty, do you think that the center could 
be in Europe, in Italy, in Rome?" Garcia takes up. "Hardiy. 
The majority of European Catholics do not go to Mass or 


Sacraments. Great sections of France, Italy, Holland, Ger- 
many, Austria are de-Christianized — many people in those 
sections are not even baptized. Catholicism, according to 
the Position Paper, is undergoing a maximum period of dis- 
orientation. Already in the early seventies, it was clear that 
many Cardinals, bishops, priests, intellectuals, besides lay 
people, believed no longer in the fundamentals — the Resur- 
rection of Jesus, his divinity, the historic reality of his 
sacrifice on Calvary, the human soul, the Eucharist and 
other Sacraments." 

Based on its own accurate, up-to-date statistics and very 
frank reports about the decline in religious observance, in 
priestly and religious vocations, and in personal morals, the 
Vatican mind has arrived at the same conclusions as it 
draws from its consideration of Western Europe's fate. 

Over all, throughout Western Europe and in the old 
Catholic countries, there is no rational probability of a 
religious revival. Religion in the West is banished to the 
realm of personal belief and family life: 

Religion has no socially regulative functions any 
longer, no societal identity, no political legitimacy. This 
has come about, because all social control, socializa- 
tion, and societal identity are rationally coordinated in 
the impersonal and anonymous environment, inevitable 
in industrial and post-industrial societies. More acutely, 
the realms of family and personal belief are recessive 
areas: constantly invaded and diminished by their en- 
vironment. And any cold-blooded assessment tells us 
that, barring an impossible and mythical return to the 
Stone Age, this process cannot be reversed. It can 
only keep going on its one-way trend. 

Religious observance, therefore, as a sign of inner reli- 
gious belief, will go on being diminished. The authors and 
cosigners of the Position Papers are as impressed by the 
enthusiasm of, say, Catholic Charismatics in Kansas City, 
Missouri, or Dublin, Ireland, as they are by the Kim- 
bangyist Movement in Zaire, Scientology in Britain, or the 
Human Potential Movement, the Children of God, and 
Hare Krishna in the United States. All such movements 
with their claims to esoteric knowledge, their proposals 
to liberate the powers of the self, the real self, and the 

The Final Conclave 217 

salvation they claim can be obtained only within their 
sacred community, such movements are seen as weak ges- 
tures of despair against an irremovable technology and 
all-enveloping impersonality and isolation of modern so- 

"And we know," Garcia concludes a little grimly, "that 
neither in Africa nor Asia is there any sign of vast ex- 
pansion for Christianity or Roman Catholicism." 

Kand is silent. He reads a few paragraphs from Position 
Papers open on his desk, where Garcia has marked par- 
ticular piaces. There is no more coldly analytic mind, he 
reflects, than the mind of the Roman Catholic assessing 
the situation of his own Church and his own belief. 

In the coming period, this widening disbelief, already 
an accomplished fact, will become a live issue splitting 
the Church, depriving it of many good minds and many 
trained specialists as well as of many of the rank-and- 
file. There no longer will be the old sense of a dis- 
crepancy between what is spoken and what is known. 
Furthermore, the position of the Holy Father will 
necessarily undergo a severe overhauling: Church 
organization and the descending hierarchy of authori- 
ty and discipline will become more diversified — in 
order to survive in some form or other. Large bodies 
of non-Catholic Christians will draw nearer and at- 
tempt association or amalgamation with Catholics, 
thus necessitating adaptations in the Papal role. De- 
Romanization of Roman Catholicism, which is a fact 
ever since the invention of the telegraph, will be 
hastened toward completion. The Church of Constan- 
tine is on the way out of human affairs. 

Kand looks up. There is silence among the three men 
for a few moments. Then Kand says incredulously, almost 
angrily: "But, in the name of God, what were Masaccio 
and Vasari speaking about then at the meeting? They have 
read all this material. They cosigned it all, didn't they?" 

"What do you think Thule and Lynch and Franzus are 
speaking about right now, my friend?" Garcia says with 
a narrow look at him. "The first two really don't know 
what to do and want to stand pat. Hold the fort sort of 
thing. Keep the best face in public. Whatever you like. 
Just ignorant good will with a dosage of personal ambi- 


tion. The others think they know what we should do. They 
are running after the fashions of the times. Frankly, I 
don't know which attitude is more stupid." 

"Well, Eminences," Karewsky looks at his watch, "it is 
almost a quarter to eleven. Cardinal Kand may have for- 
gotten, but he and I have a meeting to attend." The 
Eastern European Cardinals are due to caucus at eleven 

"As do I," Garcia says affably. 

When Thule returns to his apartment, he finds Buff, Fran- 
zus, and Francis still seated. On his way back from the 
Camerlengo, Thule has formed a decision. He sits down. 
The others are silent. "I have been thinking of the mood 
at this evening's Preliminary Session," Thule begins, "and 
it seems to me that in view of our recent conversation with 
Azande and the others, we should decide on a very bold 

"It seems to me, for my part," Franzus says, "if we do 
not move quickly, we will lose a certain momentum al- 
ready built up. Moreover, I do not quite trust the simplicity 
and geniality of Domenico. Angelico I know — we all 
know — is predictable. But Domenico! Now there's a man 
who could lead us down the garden path all smiles, all 
concessions, all simplicity and scholarly detachment. And 
then when we're about to praise the garden, suddenly we'd 
probably find ourselves outside the gate and Domenico 
laughing through the grille at us." 

"Not laughing, friend," Buff adds somberly, "Not laugh- 
ing. Worse than that. Offering a prayer of thanks to the 

"Well, anyway, things will not come to that." Thule is 
full of tense self-confidence. It is infectious. The others 

"All right," Buff becomes practical. "What's on our 

"First," says Thule, "I want His Eminence here," indi- 
cating Franzus, "to tell us what was or is the final outcome 
of the Latin American and Ostkardinalaat maneuvering in 
which Eakins and Tobey and the others were involved. 
A lot depends on that." What Thule is after is an update 
on the effort to forge an alliance between Latin American 
Cardinals and Cardinals from Eastern Europe. 

The Final Conclave 219 

"It's simple. It's clear," Franzus says, "that you know 
what Eakins and Tobey tried to arrange. I think, really, 
that Bronzino, Braun, and the Camerlengo were behind 
it. . . ." 

"In fact, we know they were, Brothers," Buff's remark 
is made with the faintest trace of cynicism. 

"Anyway," Franzus goes on, "they thought it was all 
arranged. That, indeed, the Eastern European Cardinals 
would stand with the Latin Americans — and vice versa — 
behind a General Framework Policy candidate, provided 
he was a sort of . . . what shall I call it ... ? oh, a kind 
of hybrid, a Conservative who was Progressivist and a 
Progressivist who was Conservative." He breaks off and 
looks around among the others a moment. "It's probably 
all in those Reports, of course. Not that I've seen them. 
All of them, anyway. . . ." 

"You don't need to see them," Thule says hastily. "A 
mishmash. But go on. What about Kand?" 

"Oh, he was out of it. I was told to leave him out." 

"Why did the Camerlengo and company want him out 
of it?" 

"Not he," Franzus swallows. "You see, all this time 
I was talking with our own people . . ." he pauses, looks 
at Thule, "and er . . . er. . . ." 

"Quite clear, Eminence!" 

"So!" Franzus gives a Germanic zed sound to the V 
sound. It speaks volumes to the others. "In the meantime, 
by a separate route, I got to the Latin Americans." He 
turns to Thule. "We must remember the kind offices of 
Menendez Arceo in this matter. Afterward, you know?" 
Bishop of Cuernavaca in Mexico, Menendez Arceo is one 
of the most outspoken propagators of the movement for a 
democratic socialism. "I am a social revolutionary," the 
Bishop is supposed to have stated openly. And he was 
reported as saying that Chou en-Lai should be canonized 
as a saint of the Church. 

"And?" Thule pursues the question. 

"They agreed to make a break from the General Policy, 
if a viable road were opened for them. Question is, can we 
open such a road?" 

"I think so." Thule is definitive. "Here's what I propose. 
First I go to Lowe and explain to him that what we need 
now is not the pan-European papal style. That, as you 
know, was thought up as a transition between an Italianate 


Papacy, such as we have had up to this, and a truly inter- 
national Papacy, a Papacy that would be non-nationalistic, 
non-denominational, non-classbound, non-ethnically closed, 
non-geographically determined. And it was a good idea. 
But we have a new momentum now. Phew! What a 
chance, once and for all, to rid the Church of 'Constan- 
tine's Church' ... if I can speak in that fashion, para- 
doxically . . . ?" 

"We understand. Brother. Believe me! We understand." 
Franzus is suddenly perfervid and emphatic. "We under- 
stand only too well!" 

Thule goes on animatedly. "We get Lowe to acquiesce 
in not being put forv/ard. No! No! Believe me! Lowe will 
be the first to understand." He responds to the disbelieving 
look on Franzus' face. 

"All right,' 1 Franzus goes on. "But what about Yiu?" 
Thule nods silently. "Yiu, Eminence! Yiu as the candi- 
date put forward by Progressivists like myself and by those 
who favor a wide and complete apertura to the 'East'!" 
Thule is referring to the pro-Marxist-alliance group. "Yiu 
will be our coalition candidate!" 

"Of course." Buff is pleased. "Yiu would be perfect. He 
will draw many European and Italian votes. His stock 
stands high with the Africans. So that, in spite of the 
fracas with Azande, they can with easy conscience vote 
with us," 

"And don't forget," Thule adds, "Yiu is by nature Con- 
servative. Only, all have noticed, when push comes to 
shove, he can be as quick to act with the left wing as any 
of us." Yiu's history in his home country has indeed been 
of this kind. When the government cracked down on dis- 
sidents, Yiu loyally supported the nuns and priests who 
were arrested or attacked by the government. 

"Besides, Yiu represents one great advantage. Auto- 
matically, he will get Ni Kan's vote and Koi-Lo-Po's and 
Lang-Che-Ning's and the Indians' votes, and God knows 
what else in virtue of all of those — oh, I forgot Nei Hao's 
vote, he'll get that too." 

Buff looks at Thule. "I think this about does it." He 
straightens up and becomes serious. "You had better get 
to Lowe before the First Session tomorrow!" 

"Don't worry! Don't worry! It will be taken care of." 
Thule reflects awhile, then adds: "On second thought, I 
think I will ask Lowe to hold himself ready as a possible 

The Final Conclave 221 

stand-in for seconding the vote proposal. Angelico » . . 
well, you never know, do you, really?" He looks at Buff. 

"No, I suppose not/' the Anglo-Saxon says slowly. "And 
now that you say so, what about having a stand-in for 
yourself as proposer of the vote?" 

"Like who?" 

"Like me!" 

Thule looks at Buff for a moment. "Yes. I suppose so. 
You never know. Some maneuver may truss me up. You? 
All right. You can do it, I know." 

"Surely! Nothing to worry about." Buff is sure. 

"If all is wisely arranged then," Franzus stands up, "I 
will be off. You propose the nomination. Angelico is sup- 
posed to second it — or, if necessary, Lowe. Is that it?" 

Thule's voice rises in warning. "Eminence, be careful: 
that's not the way to handle it. Angelico . . . well, he may 
want out. There's always Lowe, as we have just agreed. 
Fine. But be careful. I am not going to propose a nomina- 
tion first thing. No, Eminence! Oh no! We have to evis- 
cerate the General Policy. What I shall propose is another 
policy. We vote on that. If we cannot kill the General 
Policy, we cannot kill the General Policy nominations! 
First things first! It's issues, not names, that decide Con- 
claves! Issues! This time: the issue of Conservativism en- 
shrined in the General Policy against the issue of 'opening,' 
of apertura, of the new and open Church, of open Chris- 
tianity and open Papacy and open salvation, as enshrined 
in the Coalition Policy! Got it?" 

"Aha! I understand. Better! Much better thought out 
than I had imagined! More long-range in thought. That 
way we don't burn our bridges before it's time!" 


"By the way," Buff is about to leave when the thought 
strikes him, "you did hand in our names with the Camer- 
lengo so that our speaking order is secure for tomorrow?" 

"Oh, yes. All in order. And remember, we each deal 
with one aspect or point. My Lord Lynch has his own idea. 
I shall propose the broad lines. My Lord Franzus here will 
speak of how Christians and Marxists can live together — 
he should know something about that, and who can gain- 
say him? You, My Lord Buff, you will have to use your 
speaking position in order to demolish whatever some 
opposition speakers will have said. . . . And I thought 
My Lord Francis could adduce the evidence from . . ," 


Francis protests gently but firmly, as he stands up. "My 
Lord Thule, I had better wait, hadn't I? You've handed in 
my name for a speaking position. But when I was over 
with the Camerlengo this evening on another matter, the 
poor man was so hard-pressed to find space for all the 
major speakers that I conceded my priority. Besides, I fek 
it would have been too suspicious a move on my part, if 
I held on to it. He did press me to renounce it. 'You can 
have a back-up speech later' the Camerlengo said to me. 
And I know he was speaking as if the General Policy was 
still viable. I couldn't press the point, I felt, without . . ." 

"Excellent!" Buff decides for all. Thule smiles, acquiesc- 
ing in the idea. Only Franzus reacts momentarily in a 
different fashion. A shadow of doubt flits across his eyes. 
But Francis sees it. "My Brother!" he says, "don't worry! 
We Orientals have been having the last word for the last 
five thousand years! I'll do my best!" Then he breaks into 
a smile. He nods. 

Franzus hesitates a moment. Then he too breaks into a 
smile. He nods. Sometimes, Francis reminds him of those 
canny farmers in his native land whom nobody ever got to 
do anything they did not want to do. Always a laugh. Al- 
ways a pleasant joke. But a will like granite. 

As he passes out the door, there are little beads of 
perspiration around Francis' upper lip. That was a close 
shave. This is his thought. In his rooms, he closes the 
door, lifts the phone and calls Domenico. 

Buff, Franzus, and the others depart for some rest in 
their own rooms. Thule calls Lowe and speaks on the 
phone with him for about twenty minutes. Then he rises and 
makes his way to Cardinal Yiu's apartment. 

While Thule and his colleagues have been formulating a 
working plan, Karewsky has been with Terebelski in his 
apartment. There also Bonkowski has come, together with 
Eakins and Tobey. Eakins and Tobey are still endeavoring 
to break the working agreement between the Latin Ameri- 
cans and the East Europeans. And the first big question 
on their minds is Franzus. The second problem is presented 
by the Latin Americans. 

"Well, when we spoke to Franzus in September," Tobey 
tells Terebelski, "Franzus was just as much with us as you 
were when my colleague, Eakins, saw you- in August. It 

The Find Conclave 223 

was fine. He was with us. For the General Policy, I mean. 
I don't think we have to worry." 

"I shall worry until it's all over," Karewsky says gently. 
"We are Slavs. They are not. That's all. And My Lord 
Thule is very intelligent. You know that!" 

"But, Eminence," Eakins breaks in. "There's too much 
riding on this. Remember, what we propose is neither what 
I suspect friend Thule wants, nor what friend Franzus 
wants. It's really an alignment of Conservative religious 
policy with what we know, or think we know is, or will be, 
United States Government policy. Now, that is an awful 
lot to risk. Agreed?" 

"Yes! But there's no risk really," Tobey assures him. 
"I have known these people all my life. They're all the 
same. Mystical. Vague. Great Catholics, though. And 
tough as nails really." 

"Well, if you say so," Eakins murmurs, still doubtful. 

"So be it, Eminence," Karewsky says with a slightly 
satiric expression on his brow and along his round cheek- 
bones and mouth. 

"In fact, what I am more concerned about is the Latin 
American issue," Tobey goes on. "What about Lynch? 
Will he go along with the General Policy?" 

"The word there is clear," Eakins rejoins. "I have it 
through our friends in Panama and Cuernavaca — besides 
what Lynch said to the Brazilians. Lynch will go as Fran- 
zus goes." 

"So it all hangs on Franzus, eh?" Karewsky remarks. 

At this point Kand arrives. "I came only to greet you all, 
and to ask a question," he says to Terebelski. "From the 
last words I heard My Lord Karewsky saying, I believe 
I have arrived at just the right moment. I had intended to 
ask: Is Franzus secured?" 

The usually taciturn Bonkowski breaks in: "I detect a 
certain note of doubt in your voice, Eminence. ..." 

"Well, to be frank, we received some disturbing reports 
shortly before coming down to Rome." 

"What reports? Tell usl" Eakins is alarmed. Kand glances 
at Karewsky and catches the warning signal in his eyes. 

"Oh, really nothing," Kand says lamely. "Just something 
about — er— Franzus having difficulty with the Government, 
and about Franzus' fears." 

"Oh, that," Tobey says. "Sure! Franzus has his fears. In 
fact we all have." 


"Well, where do we stand with Franzus?" Kand asks 

"We have secured Franzus* adhesion," Tobey answers 

"I know that. But that was over six months ago. What 
about now? Tonight? Tomorrow?" Kand is insistent. Eakins 
and Tobey look at each other. Then Terebelski takes over. 

"Look, Brothers. Our information is that Franzus is 
going to go for a pan-European policy; that Thule will 
tag along because he cannot do otherwise; that the Camer- 
lengo can assure us of the Italians. It's a break with tradi- 
tion for them. But they've seen the light, we think." Tere- 
belski's face is relaxed, semi-smiling, reassuring. He stands 
up as if to bring the meeting to an end, and turns so that 
only Karewsky sees his face. On it, Karewsky reads a 
different message. Terebelski has that cold, hard, granite- 
like expression that Karewsky and others have seen him 
wear again and again during his clashes with his home 
governments and with their Russian masters. Wordlessly, 
Terebelski is telling Karewsky now: "No more. Say no 
more. The whole thing is too subtle for them to under- 
stand. Too cunning for them to accept." So Karewsky rises 

"Eminence! I think that all is set. Let's all get a good 
night's sleep." 

The two Americans move into the corridor. "All the 
same," Tobey is saying, "1 would like a short word with 
Lynch and Marquez and the others." Eakins is shaking his 

Karewsky stops at the door and looks back at Terebel- 
ski. "Well, it should come out all right, Eminence? What 
do you think?" 

"It should be all right," the other says hesitantly. "It 
should work out. Be sure and have a word with Domenico 
in the morning." Karewsky departs. 

When Terebelski and Kand are alone, Kand takes out a 
sheaf of papers from his pocket. 

"There are no copies, Brother," he says softly to Tere- 
belski. "I must take them away with me again." The other 
nods and starts to read, Kand passing over page after 
page as Terebelski hands back each page he has read. It 
takes them less than a quarter of an hour. Kand folds the 
papers and puts them back in his pocket. 

Terebelski is already on the phone to Domenico. "Yes, 

The Final Conclave 225 

Eminence, I have seen the lists. . . . Not so many as I 
thought . . . even in the United States . . . about, oh, 
about . . ." He breaks oft" and looks at Kand who signals 
with one hand. "About five bishops. Sixty to eighty priests, 
some nuns. . . . Rome? Do you mean, oh, the Vatican. 
Well, mainly laymen. . . . Yes. Mainly among the lay per- 
sonnel, but there are two or three auxiliary bishops and 
about four monsignori in the Secretariat and — guess 
what? — about three to six in the Commission. Yes!" Tere- 
belski listens for a while, then cups his hand over the 
speaker, and turns to Kand. "How recent, up-to-date I 
mean, are the lists?" 

"They came from Moscow ten days ago," Kand answers 

Terebelski gets back on the phone to Domenico: "Most 
recent." He listens awhile; then, "And we can deal with 
the individuals later? After the Conclave! Good! I've got 
it." He says good night, and hangs up. He stands biting 
his lip for a moment, then turns to Kand. 

"Domenico thinks we should hold the lists in reserve. 
To be used — if and when! Understand?" 

"But couldn't they serve a useful purpose now?" 

"Yes, they could, in fact, a devastating effect. But, to be 
used most effectively, both Franzus and Lynch would have 
to be present. About Lynch I don't care. But there's this 
one thing about Franzus." He breaks off. 

"Well?" Kand asks. 

Terebelski answers finally, taking a deep breath, "Let's 
say this. You have your sources. Would you like to see 
those compromised?" 

Kand goes white and withdraws into his chair, as if he 
had been struck. "Oh, no! For the love of the Good Jesus, 
no, not that!" 

"Well, then, if they are read out in Franzus' presence, we 
are not sure that your sources will not be compromised." 

"But there will be time to alert them. When I return 
home. . . ." 

"Eminence," Terebelski interrupts with a grim voice, 
"that evening, the evening of the day we read them out 
here in Conclave, that evening, perhaps even sooner . . ." 
he breaks off, staring at Kand. 

"But how?" Kand stops, realization flooding his eyes. 
Oh, no ... I see! Oh my God! To that extent? My God!" 


"Yes," Terebelski grinds the word from between his 
teeth. "To that extent, Eminence." 

There is silence between them. Kand speaks as if he 
were talking to himself: "So all these turncoat clerics go 
on living double lives, burrowing away, gnawing at our 
faith, corroding and betraying," 

"No," Terebelski comments. "We'll catch them. Lop 
them off, one by one, always for obvious reasons. And, 
forever after, they are marked men." 

After a while Kand rises, stands meditating awhile, 
then: "Should Domenico see them — the lists I mean?" 

"No." The other man shakes his head. "Not necessary. 
He knows a bit already. . . . There are other sources." 
Kand looks around with curiosity in his eyes. 


"Well. All right. Let us say that the good Jesuit Father 
had a very pleasant trip to Moscow last year. Not that 
Arnaud knows." Terebelski says this with a little grin. "A 
good mailman, that's our Father for you!" 

"That at least," Kand says. They both laugh a little. 
Then Kand departs. 

As Thule enters, Yiu rises quickly. His movements are all 
very quick but not impetuous, and not so much lithe as 
subtle. Thule notes this as something he has seen in Orien- 
tals. Yiu takes both of Thule 's hands in his and bows his 
head, his body bending slightly at the waist. 

"My Eminent Lord Yiu, I am sorry to break in on you 
at this late hour. We have a busy day ahead of us tomor- 
row. . . ." Yiu bows a little further, and shows his 
well-known boyish grin. Even his motioning Thule to an 
armchair has that tentative quality which amounts to an 
offering, not an indication of his will. 

Thule sits down. There does not seem to be any need for 
words from him. Then Yiu sits down easily, blinking slow- 
ly, stiff smiling, his head bowed over his desk. He closes the 
notebook in front of him, and turns his body fully around 
to face Thule. Cardinal Thule notes the smile still on Yiu's 
mouth and in the crowsfeet around the Asiatic's eyes — but 
not within the eyes. They are blinking, watching, blinking. 

"Eminence," Thule begins, "I have just been in consulta- 
tion with some of my like-minded colleagues. We have 
formed a coalition. For, both to myself, as a leader of onr 

The Final Conclave 227 

group formed mainly of Europeans, and to my brother 
Franzus from the East, it does seem vital that we com- 
promise in order to facilitate the work of the Holy 
Spirit. . . ," 

At the mention of the Holy Spirit, Yiu gives a little nod 
of his head, smiles more broadly, and gestures with his 
right hand. As if in assent. Though it might be something 
else that he meant, Thule notes. But he continues. 

"We wish as a group to put your Eminence's name in 
nomination tomorrow." Yiu is unsmiling now but still 
blinking. "Of course, not until the Second Session. We all 
have to decide on policy in the First Session." Yiu is smil- 
ing again. "Policy is so important, Your Eminence! It de- 
cides all other issues, including the candidate-elect for 

His last statement is more of a question. And Yiu again 
broadens his smile, but says nothing. By now, any change 
in his facial expression is something voluble. 

"I take it then that Your Eminence has no objection to 
being put in nomination — eventually — as candidate for the 
coalition?" Then, as Yiu still says nothing, Thule goes on. 
"You see, Eminence, as proposed candidate we all have 
to ask you to answer certain questions, so that the generality 
know your mind . . ." he breaks off, looking questioning^ 
at Yiu. 

Yiu looks away, still smiling gently. His eyes are on the 
desk in front of him, but he is obviously thinking. "It is a 
great honor . . ." he pronounces the 'honor' in a thick, em- 
phatic manner, and he looks up, still smiling that imper- 
sonal smile, and finds Thule's eyes, "to be chosen, even 
considered, Your Eminence." Silence. Then he continues. 
"I esteem Your Eminence and the Cardinals from Europe 
and our Third World and North and South America. But," 
he looks down again at his desk, "my age and my lack of 
knowledge." He pauses. Then he turns around again, as 
if he had made up his mind. "Should our Brother Cardinal 
Angelico participate, it would be reassuring." 

Thule livens up. "Precisely, Eminence! Precisely! As a 
matter of fact, I have — we, I should say — have this in 
mind." He waits for another reaction. Yiu smiles broadly 
at him again. This must be enough for Thule. He has an 
assent. Propriety requires him to leave his point alone. 

"However," Thule hastens to reassure Yiu on another 
point, "what I wish Your Eminence to understand is that, 


should Your Eminence wish, we can put off the final voting 
until the Third or even Fourth Sessions. It will mean an- 
other day or so of Conclave, but no matter!" Then as an 
afterthought: "There are arrangements we have to make, 
you understand . . . and, oh, of course, you also, Eminence, 
your own arrangements, too." No papabile enters the final 
balloting without having agreed with friend and opponent 
on certain conditions affecting both general lines of policy 
and details. 

Now there is a gentle silence. Thule rises, leisurely. Yiu 
does likewise. They bow to each other, each smiling in 
his own way. Thule is almost at the door and Yiu's hand 
is on the knob opening it, when the Asiatic says, as if it 
were part of a sustained conversation still going on between 
the two of them: "And the Americans. . . ." Not a ques- 
tion. Not an objection. Not even a simple statement. A 
piece of a thought. Thule is careful to keep within the 
flow. "Almighty God walks with us and with them." This 
seems to be the most appropriately innocuous thing to say 
at that moment. 

Outside in the corridor, a sudden thought enters Thule's 
head. "The Americans"? The Americans? Did he mean the 
Cardinals? Or the Government? Or the Latin Americans? 
Or what? He looks back at Yiu's closed door and shakes 
his head slightly, then goes on to his apartment. He is not 
finally sure that he has understood correctly where the 
Asiatic stands or what he will do. 

Domenico was right. As Angelico moves down the cor- 
ridor at his usual semi-trot, he sees seven figures standing 
beneath the ceiling light outside the door of his apartment. 
Riccioni is there with the Iberians, Cortez, Balboa, Rodri- 
guez, and Da Gomez. Behind them, Azande. Angelico 
is profuse in his apologies for being late, as he shows them 

From the beginning it is Riccioni who takes over. 

"Eminence, I represent a majority of Italian Cardinals. 
And our four Iberian colleagues speak for various other 
groups. We decided to come and see you in order to get 
some advice from you. Frankly, as we see the situation, 
there seems little hope that our — I allude to the Italians 
I represent — that our preferred candidate, My Lord Yasari, 

The Final Conclave 229 

will make even a good first showing. However, com- 
promise is always possible and bearable. 

"In the light of this we have some questions to put to 
you, because we think that you were perfectly acquainted 
with the policy of Pope Paul, and with the mind of the 
Camerlengo as he worked in Paul's Pontificate. You speak, 
therefore, from hard-nosed experience. I think you share 
our beliefs and concepts about the Church and the office of 
Pope — all in line with the Councils and the defined dog- 
mas of the Church, and the believing instincts of the faith- 
ful Catholic people everywhere." 

Angelico nods to all this. He still does not know in 
what direction Riccioni's questions lie. 

"The questions we have concern what the Church should 
do. You see, all of us agree that influence and power in 
the temporal order of politics, earthly rules, and govern- 
ments, all this can no longer be part of the Papacy. It 
should never have been — at least to the degree that it was. 
Anyway, that is the way we see things today. 

"What then is to be the attitude and policy of the 
Church, the action of the Church? We have a rather clear 
idea of what My Lord Thule would propose. I know what 
my group would propose. But is there any alternative?" 

Angelico's answer is negative. "Eminence, I do not 
know. If there is, I haven't got it today. Frankly, I am as 
much at a loss as Your Eminences. I suppose it all de- 
pends on what is decided the Vatican and the Papacy 
should become." 

"In other words," Azande is speaking now, "there must 
be a change of some kind or other?" 

"Yes! Yes! Of course! Isn't it already changing, the 
whole thing?" 

"Change there is," Riccioni answers. "But we do not 
know what that change is. No one does. But we are talk- 
ing of willed change, of deliberate policy change, not the 
changes imposed willy-nilly on the Church by Providence 
in the shape of events and unavoidable happenings. What, 
in your opinion, Eminence, are the options, given the 
state of things in which His Holiness, Pope Paul 6, has 
left things?" There is just a note of bitterness in those 
last words. "Let me, first of all, categorize two obvious 

"The Vatican can go on more or less as it is going: 
essentially a clerical bureaucracy located within a sover- 


eign state of its own; holding extensive power and control 
through its various ministries over every aspect of Church 
life throughout the world; exercising at least an influence 
of presence with governments, and international organiza- 
tions through its diplomatic corps, its corporate financing, 
and such things. It can stay strictly hierarchic, appointive, 
and not elective in its various offices — save the Papacy — 
deriving its power from the Pope. From the Pope as head 
of the Church, from the Pope as endowed with infallibility 
and a general teaching authority, and from the Pope as 
gifted with the prestige of Peter's successor. 

"This is, as you see, the ancient and well-established 
constitutional monarchic oligarchy of the Church that 
evolved from what Constantine did for Pope Silvester and 
for the Church of the fourth century. So long ago! And 
it has survived every sort of calamity, inner weakness, and 
external enemy. Traditionalists and Conservatives share 
this view. The only difference between them is that Con- 
servatives would allow slow, minor changes, whereas Tra- 
ditionalists will allow little if any change." 

"Couldn't the Church, therefore, strengthen itself in this 
posture? Liquidate by excommunication all those who are 
attempting to destroy this constitution? Tighten its ranks, 
in other words. Ride out the storm. Let all these pygmies 
perish while it rides out the storm, and wait for a later 
day when conditions turn for the better?" Rodriguez has 
always preferred the Traditionalist position, but remains a 

"It could," Angelico answers. "It could try that. But 
that means it leaves all the work to Providence. This is 
what you call the Church of Constantine, of Gregory the 
Great, of Leo 3. It has survived, done great things, and 

"The difficulty does not lie there. The difficulty is to 
find out if this is what Jesus wants from us right now. 
After all, none of us here thinks the Lord wanted Pius 7 
to reclaim all the Papal States at the Council of Vienna in 
1815. Pius did, though, And he got them. We think he 
should not have. But, anyway, the Church survived." 

"I suppose the other obvious alternative is the Thule 
proposal?" Riccioni's question. 

"Yes, more or less. And, let me say, it has its merits. The 
proposal is simple: Let's sail out trustfully and boldly into 

The Final Conclave 23 1 

the human ocean, removing as many barriers as possible, 
reexamining many — even all — of our cherished positions. 
This means, practically speaking, that the Vatican ceases 
to be the Vatican. Oh, I know," this said in quick response 
to the look on RiccionTs face, "it looks unacceptable. For 
in such a proposal, the position of the Pope would be 
totally changed and the official policy of the Church would 
be totally aligned with what nowadays is reckoned to be 
the Third World and with the Marxist-Socialist side of 
international politics and economics. Yes. Yes. I know it 
would be different," 

"But can Your Eminence see what the successor of 
Peter would become if Thule's proposal were accepted?" 

"Well, let's outline it. He would, in effect, be the per- 
manently presiding chairman of an international board of 
Christians, and the accepted father figure on a still wider 
international board of, let us say, 'religionists.' No? 

"For the proposal of Thule and company is that we 
should cast aside all fear, that we should trust in the Holy 
Spirit and, for a time anyway, let all practices and shades 
of Christian belief mingle, cohabit, combine, blend, coexist, 
modify each other, eliminate one or the other. A holy 
confusion, something like a new Pentecost — as Cardinal 
Thule understands Pentecost, of course! 

"In that case, the College of Cardinals becomes an anach- 
ronism. For there would no longer be a hierarchic Vat- 
ican. The Pope, as Bishop of Rome and honored head of 
Christianity, would organize his bureaucracy much as the 
Reverend Mr. Potter organizes his bureaucracy at the World 
Council of Churches. And, really, much to the same effect 
The Pope would cease to have an international stature 
diplomatically and financially, or to possess an independent 
State of the Vatican City, And, see how easy union — I 
can hear Thule say itl — with Eastern Orthodoxy and Prot- 
estants would immediately become. But to assume that this 
would remove the Church from worldly politics is absurd. 
One look at the World Council of Churches will tell you 

"Now," Angelico's voice is becoming trenchant, "we 
all know here that this would be an attempt at suicide. 
Any admission of all other Christian sects as equals. Any 
placing of Peter's successor as a first among equals — with 
an Anglican equal, with a Russian Orthodox equal, with a 
Lutheran equal, with an Armenian Orthodox equal, with 


an Episcopalian equal; with all the possible equals — and 
I am thinking of them all, from the Latter Day Saints over 
to the Bahai and the Jews for Jesus and the Jehovah Wit- 
nesses and anything like that, all the others — all that for 
me spells death and damnation and the end of us all and 
of Jesus' Church. 

"And there's worse. The state of belief and doctrine is 
bad enough now. What do you think it would be like the 
day Thule's proposal were implemented, or on the mor- 

"Has Your Eminence any other alternative to these 
two?" Riccioni asks. 

"No, Eminence. I have not. No. I have not. I don't 
think — and I think that you don't think — that the Con- 
servative, middle of the road, change-slowly position of a 
Masaccio is worth a tinker's curse. And I pray God that He 
grant us all light, because we have to agree on the policy 
to be followed by the next Pope, whoever he is. And may 
God have mercy on him and on us. Something has to be 

Riccioni has a disappointed and sad air: He came ex- 
pecting some enlightenment. Azande seems impassive. The 
three Iberians have remained serious-faced making no 
more comments. 

"Can we take it then, Eminence," Riccioni asks Angelico, 
"that your mind about candidates falls more or less on the 
Right or toward the Centex with a bias toward the Right?" 
This is a regular question and can cause no resentment or 
surprise. Angelico is looking down at his own hands as 
they rest on his desk. 

The impassive Azande, who has stood up by this time, 
takes a step forward. "I think His Eminence has answered 
fairly clearly all our questions." 

Riccioni looks from Azande's angular face to Angelico's 
big eyes. He senses a certain relief in Angelico and a plea 
in Azande. No more will be learned tonight, he realizes. 
"Yes, I suppose so, Eminence! I bid you good night, Em- 

When Riccioni is gone, Angelico stands, goes around 
the desk, and stops for a moment with the others. 

"Events may push you out of your present position, my 

"Eminence," Rodriguez raises his voice, "we have to 
return to Garcia's apartment for a meeting. We just want 

The Final Conclave 233 

to tell you of our group's decision. We have decided to go 
with a Lohngren nomination, if the case arises. We can- 
not in conscience back My Lord Riccioni's candidate, My 
Lord Cardinal Vasari. Masaccio and Ferro are both, we 
think, on the wrong track. Nor can we see our way to sup- 
porting a Thule nominee. Now, unless you have an alter- 
native^ — and we think you are one of the few capable of 
producing an alternative — then you leave us with no alter- 

Angelico throws his hands in the air. Those present 
notice the beads of perspiration on his forehead. Angelico 
is shrugging off any suggestion that he offer himself as a 
candidate. But another, deeper struggle is wracking him 
silently and — except for those beads of perspiration — in- 

Azande, the sensitive one, is the first to start moving out 
"Eminences! We must all get to bed. My Lord Cardinal 
Angelico has talked long enough." 

When he is alone, Angelico starts unbuttoning his cas- 
sock. Before he kneels to pray, he hears the footsteps of 
the last few Cardinals on their way back to their rooms, 
returning from long consultations. Once in bed he lies 
there sleepless. Running through his mind are echoes 
of the conversation just ended, intertwined with a 
swarm of questions without answers, and his own reac- 
tions. "Unless you have an alternative" Why me? "Is 
there any other viable alternative?" Is there? Is there? I 
don't know. . . . / don't know. . . . "// you don't know, Em- 
inence, who knows. . . ." / don't know. . . . / still don't 
know . . . is there? "What other alternative?" None? Then, 
it's Lohngren — at best; Thule' s candidate — at the worst. 
Or perhaps there's worse still. "Can there be worse?" I 
don't know. . . . Why me? How could the Pope's position 
be worse than in the Thule plan? 

The Camerlengo has been able to calm the fears of the 
British Commonwealth and Oceanic Cardinals. Their fears 
were simple: that the central managers of the Vatican would 
go along too easily with an attempt to oppose a Thule- 
Franzus proposal. As Desai put it: "For all we know, 
Eminence, the choice of a Third World candidate may be 
just the solution of our problems." And as Nei Hao of 
Oceania said: "All we need is, a few years hence, for 


Third World Cardinals — some in Latin America and some 
in Africa — to find out that they cannot in conscience even 
agree with the precepts and recommendations of a Eu- 
ropean Pope and his Roman Ministries. Your Eminence 
knows what that would mean." 

Oh, yes. The Camerlengo knows. Total schism. A split- 
ting up of the Church. And he took just five seconds and 
three words to tell the Cardinal that, in his dry way: "Ka- 
put, Eminence, kaput!" In the end, he had sent them away 
with at least a hope that great care would be exercised. 

In the three-quarters of an hour before his bedtime, the 
Camerlengo received the Cardinals from the East. They 
threw him off balance. They had come led by Terebelski. 
The Camerlengo has never got on with Terebelski whom 
he once nicknamed, in a fit of anger, "Our Holy Father of 
Central Europe" because of the man's pontifical manner. 
But it has taken such a Cardinal as Terebelski to keep two 
Communist regimes at bay and hew out a sizable area of 
influence for his Church in a Stalinist and post-Stalinist 

"Eminem" Terebelski had announced with the Ger- 
manic touch to his accent that also irritated the Camerlen- 
go, *'we have talked with Cardinal Calder who spoke for 
at least three of his Western colleagues, Sargent, Artel, 
and Buonarroti, and for some Europeans and Latin Ameri- 

"Yes, Eminence'' the Camerlengo had responded giving 
the French nasal sound to the title. "I too . . ." 

"Eminem" Terebelski had continued imperturbably, as 
if he had not heard the interruption, "we — our group — 
have decided to withdraw our adhesion to the General 
Policy as agreed upon according to the Position Papers. 
We will wait until the First Session tomorrow, in order 
to declare our decision." In telling him this, Terebelski was 
observing Conclave convention. Having once promised to 
follow the Camerlengo's policy, he must reveal any change 
in decision. 

Then, they had briefly discussed the leanings of the 
Latin Americans. It was all inconclusive. Terebelski and 
his companions had adopted a stand-off wait-and-see atti- 

Now, the Camerlengo is tidying up his table and giving 
last instructions to the young Monsignore, while he still 

The Final Conclave 235 

mulls over the situation. A thought strikes him. He picks 
up the telephone and calls Angelico. 

"I think Your Eminence had better chat with Cardinal 
Domenico," is Angelico's comment when the Camerlengo 
quickly explains the crumbling wall of support for the 
General Policy Framework, "He is probably still in the 
Chapel. Good night, Eminence." 

As the Camerlengo approaches the Chapel, Domenico is 
coming out, slowly, deep in thought. For the second time 
this evening, the Camerlengo does not get in what he 
wants to say. He barely starts. Domenico gives him one 
shrewd glance, then says somewhat brusquely: "I know 
well our trouble, Eminence. I know. But unless my Brother 
Cardinals become aware of all the facts, they are going 
to dissent en masse from the General Policy,*' 

"What do you counsel, Father?" 

"Beyond recommending openness about all relevant 
facts, just prayer, Eminence I Pray! Good night, Eminence." 

The young Monsignore is the last to leave the Secretary's 
Office. He turns out the lights, closes and locks the door 
of the outer office which gives on to the corridor. For the 
duration of the Conclave, besides helping the Camerlengo 
in his office, the Monsignore will organize the priest-confes- 
sors so that they are available for Cardinals* confessions, 
make sure that material supplies are maintained, and see to 
the general order of the timetable. He must awaken the 
confessors at 5 a.m. each day. 

Now it is almost 1 a.m. The City outside is asleep. On 
Vatican Hill a special quiet seems to flow in, as activity 
trails off into silence. It is the quiet after one more evening's 
events in the long history of Rome. The same quiet that 
settled on the same hill after Nero's banquet when Peter 
died, and the Church of the morrow was unknown to 
those he left to carry on the message of Jesus' love and 
Jesus' salvation to all nations. 

The First Day 

MORNING: 5:00 A.M.-IO:00 A.M. 

One of those yellow-gold Roman mornings. A cloudless 
blue sky filled with that luminosity seen only here in the 
provinces of Latio and in the Cyclades. The sun giving 
that sheen of old burnished gold to the earth browns and 
the ochre facades of Rome's palazzi. Everything is still 
green up on the Pincio and in the Villa Borghese. Over in 
the Trastevere, the people are hanging out the bedsheets 
from the windows and calling down to the cafes and the 
itinerant coffee-vendors for their morning cappuccino. The 
sharp east wind that blows from the sea drops as the sun 

The night guards on duty at the Domus Mariae have 
just been relieved by the dawn shift. The day's supply of 
vegetables and meat is already being unloaded. "Eh behl" 
the carter murmurs with quiet irreverence, "che mangiano 
bene, i nostri illustrissimi principi! Andiamol" (Well, may 
they eat well, our most illustrious princes. Let's go!) "Mu 
andemV (Let's gol) his companion rejoins, as he swings 
into the driver's seat. 

The three Cardinals whose rooms are on ground level 
with the Courtyard are awakened by the departing truck. 
Two of them turn over to sleep again. The third, Yiu, sits 
up and glances at his watch, decides to get up. 

Inside the Conclave area, very little else is stirring. The 
young Monsignore's alarm clock rouses him at 5 o'clock 
sharp. He immediately telephones the priest-confessors. 
Then he gets ready for the day's work. By 6 o'clock he 
has said Mass, had some breakfast, and heads for the 
Camerlengo's office. 

As he opens the door from the main corridor, he hears 

The Final Conclave 111 

the sound of voices from the Camerlengo's study. In a 
momentary decision, he knocks and enters: "Good morn- 
ing, Eminence! May I bring you some coffee?" 

The Camerlengo must have been up for at least two 
hours. Shaved and fully dressed, he is seated at his desk. 
Seated across from him are Cardinals Braun and Bron- 
zino. The three glance up from their papers at the Mon- 
signore's youthful face. On their laps, on the Camerlengo's 
desk, and on the side tables are scattered papers and docu- 
ments and lists of figures. "The financial assessments" is 
the Monsignore's thought 

"We could all do with some coffee, Monsignore," the 
Camerlengo answers cheerily. Bronzino and Braun nod. 

After he has delivered the coffee to the three Cardinals, 
the Monsignore receives some lists for typing. "By the way, 
Monsignore, we will be having some visitors. The names 
are on your desk. Admit them. But keep all others away 
for about one half hour ..." A knock interrupts him. The 
door of the outer office opens. They hear some light, ir- 
regular footsteps, s and the young Cardinal with the stutter 
appears smiling and fresh-faced in the doorway of the 

"Aha! Good morning, Eminence I" the Camerlengo 
beams at him. The others present greet the young Cardinal 
cordially but with some obvious curiosity. "I have invited 
our young friend as an amicus curiae — which he has been, 
and is, in both senses of the term. You know, he's done a 
lot of private and confidential work for us over the years." 
Then to the Cardinal. "Come, come, Eminence! Have a 
seat. We were just starting." The other Cardinals sit down 
again, and the meeting resumes. 

"Before our other friends arrive, let's get the picture 
straight." The Camerlengo unlocks one drawer in the desk, 
takes out a sheaf of typewritten papers, and places them 
at his right hand. "Here's how we'll do it I have here 
unique copies of the financials for 1977-78 and the pro- 
jected 1979 budget. The perspective of this report, as you 
will see, is very advantageous for us. The material is pre- 
sented against the economic, social, and political back- 
ground of the United States and Europe. I think, in this 
respect, the projections and analysis are excellent." Still 
talking, he passes the top sheet of his documents to Bron- 
zino. "You will get the general picture anyway. All this 
material is entre nous for the moment. 


"We start with the state of investments as of Fall 1977." 
All wait for the quick-eyed Bronzino to scan it. Bronzino 
is just checking it — he knows more about the subject than 
any Cardinal in the Conclave. He then passes it to Braun, 
who knows only some of the contents, and then receives 
the second page from the Camerlengo. In a few minutes 
the process is in full swing. Each time a sheet has passed 
through four pairs of hands, the last man puts it face down 
on the desk at the Camerlengo's left hand. 

When this reading is over, he opens the desk drawer, 
places the documents inside, closes and locks the drawer, 
then leans his elbows on the desk and looks downward at 
his writing pad. All present now realize that the financial 
health of the Vatican depends on the health of the United 

"Your Eminences, no doubt, can now appreciate the 
difficulty — and my attitudes." 

"I can see more than a mere doctrinal danger in the 
Progressivist move," Bronzino comments. 

"I thought," the Camerlengo goes on, "that I could ex- 
plain all this to him — to Thule, I mean — and thus cut off 
the movement at the pass." 

"And?" Braun's query. 

"Oh! He seemed to see the hand of God or something 
like that in all of it." A pause. "The hand of God, if you 

"Now, how much of all this do we explain shortly to 
our friends?" 

"All of it, but in general terms. Enough so they under- 
stand the gravity of any cutting away from the General 
Policy Framework, and/ or from close identification with 
Washington." He looks up earnestly: "We present it al- 
ways as a temporary measure, of course! Temporary." The 
others nod. The office door opens. The young Monsignore 

"Our friends are here?" the Camerlengo inquires, his 
voice carrying to the outer office. "Yes, come in, Emi- 
nences! Come in!" The Asiatic is the first. "My Lord Yiu, 
how good of you! Good morning, Pietrol" Masaccio is 
obviously in his well-known, smiling, morning good humor. 
He greets Lowe, Lohngren, and Vasari with equal warmth. 
"You all know each other." The Monsignore brings in 
some folding chairs, opens them, and all sit down. 

"Now my friends, this is, as you know, the usual pre- 

The Final Conclave 239 

Session briefing for presumed candidates. And I thought 
our colleagues here . . ." looking at Braun and Bronzino 
and Lohngren and the young Cardinal, "would be able to 
help us to get rapidly and thoroughly through it all." He 
very correctly reminds the small group that the purpose 
of this briefing, which has been a Conclave practice since 
early in this century, is not so much to prepare the papa- 
bili to step, possibly, into the previous Pope's shoes, as it 
is to give them an idea of the economic and financial fac- 
tors that govern the Church's actions in various parts of 
the world — religious, diplomatic, and political as well as 
ecclesiastical actions. He looks at the Monsignore. "Mon- 
signore will distribute some work sheets to you all which 
summarize our position and the facts as this Office sees 
them.'* The Camerlengo always refers to himself as "the 
Office," or "this Office." The papers are distributed to the 
four papabili and to the others. 

The Camerlengo looks at his copy. "I think everything 
is clear here." 

There is a silence for a couple of minutes, as the Car- 
dinals run through the materials. Cardinal Braun is com- 
plimented on the year's contributions from the Catholics 
in his home diocese. Lowe wants to know how much the 
Sindona affair cost the Vatican. But Bronzino and the 
Camerlengo "fudge" on this point. The documents reflect 
the huge transfer of stocks and property investments from 
Europe to the United States which the Vatican undertook 
in the late sixties. 

'Then, my Brothers, this is the situation," Yiu says as 
he lays down "his papers. "Any sharp veering away from 
political and diplomatic alignment with the Atlantic side 
will endanger our acceptability there; and there, precisely, 
we have sunk our major interests. Is that the conclusion?" 

"More or less. There are nuances, of course." Bronzino 
is careful. "But that can be taken as a good summary." 

"It seems to me, if that is fixed policy," now it is the 
young Cardinal who speaks, "then anything outside an 
Italian pro-Curial candidate — or a pan-European candidate 
acceptable to the Curia — anything outside those two pos- 
sibilities is ruled out unless we wish to court high danger. 
And who would want to do that?" 

The Camerlengo flings down his pencil in an emotional 
outburst. "Exactly! That is why, Eminences! That is clearly 
why some form of the General Policy is advisable. I have 


been saying this to everyone." Instinctively all turn and 
look at Yiu. No one of them speaks. Yiu looks up, and 
grimaces as he talks. He is the one papabile here who, in 
the Camerlengo's terms, is unacceptable. 

"As if that were the only reason against my candidacy, 
Brothers! Let's be frank and realistic! There is also my age, 
you know that. And my skin-color. Oh, yes! It matters; 
and don't act as if it didn't. Can you imagine what the 
Italian Communists and Latin American dynasties would 
say if the Pope were a little yellow man? And my country's 
regime! Isn't it a factor too? But don't worry. I will not 
ever be put in nomination successfully. Don't worry!" 

"But we have to worry, Eminence," the Camerlengo 
chides him paternally. "We have to be realistic. And . . ." 
glancing around, "we all know what Eastern fury can ac- 
complish!" The reference to Thule causes no amusement. 
"Understood!" Yiu says cryptically. "Understood! Don't 

"Well then," the Camerlengo rises, his aim obviously ac- 
complished with Yiu's assurance, "if we have finished I 
am sure we all have things to do before 9 o'clock Mass. I 
want to thank you all, Eminences! Thanks very, very much. 
My mind is relieved." 

As they troop out, the Camerlengo signals to the young 
Cardinal to stay. In the confidential work the young Car- 
dinal has done for him and the Vatican, he has shown real 
promise, this young man. The Camerlengo knows what an 
important experience this Conclave could be for him. If 
he can give him a bit of guidance, he will — and happily. 

"My friend," he confides, "we do, of course, have an 
alternative plan — should an anti-U.S. Pope be elected and 
it become imperative to cut the Atlantic knot. But I wasn't 
going to talk about that now, nor were Bronzino or Braun. 
They are au courant, of course. Lohngren knows nothing. 
We would only take such a recourse and follow that alter- 
nate plan if it is decided to ride down to the bottom of the 
trough — I mean really go poor with the Third World." 

"But who would decide that the whole machine should, 
as you say, ride to the bottom of the trough?" 

The young Cardinal's question is natural enough, per- 
haps. But in its attempt to draw him out, the Camerlengo 
finds it out of character for the younger man. His eyes 
narrow for one tiny moment. Then his face clears and he 
smiles indulgently. "You, young man, are too young to 

The Final Conclave 241 

hear all these dreadful secrets I Go on! Let me get back to 
my work. I will never finisk it in time. Peace!" 

The Cardinal goes out through the outer office, bows 
his head to the young Monsignore and passes on out into 
the corridor. The Monsignore rises and goes in to see the 
Camerlengo. "If I didn't know better, Eminence," he says 
in that irreverent tone that a trusted servant uses with a 
master, "I would say the Cardinal didn't find out and is 
still puzzling about something vital." 

The Camerlengo, who is writing busily, does not raise his 
head. The Monsignore knows his manner, and he waits. A 
small wry smile appears at the corner of the older man's 
mouth. Still bowed over his writing pad, he stops writing, 
glances up under his eyebrows at the Monsignore. The 
gleam in his eyes is a telltale sign of his inner self. He 
looks down again at the line of writing where he has 
stopped, says very curtly: "The old dog for the long road, 
and the pup for the puddle, as they used to say in Beham." 
And he starts writing again. The reference to his native 
town strikes the Monsignore as peculiar. The Camerlengo 
never refers to it or to any personal matter when talking 
with his subordinates. Retirement? — the Monsignore asks 
himself as he leaves his boss. And then another question 
to himself: Do any of us ever really grow up? Or ever 
cease to be little boys from such and such a little place 
where our hearts remain always? 

By 6 o'clock, Domenico, too, has said his Mass and had 
some coffee. He is back in his apartment when Yiu ap- 
pears at the door. He has come directly from the meeting 
at the Camerlengo 's office. Domenico waves his hand airily 
when Yiu apologizes for the early hour. "It is not early for 
me, Eminence, I assure you. Not early at all!" He looks 
at Yiu's stony face, "I guess one thing: You have been 
approached." Yiu nods. 

"Thule?" Yiu nods. 

"Nomination or . . ." Yiu nods. 

"Before or after the Policy vote?" 

"After." Yiu barely opens his mouth. His eyes are nar- 
row slits. 

"Did you consent explicitly to be put in nomination?" 

"His Eminence took it that such was the case." 

Domenico smiles slightly at this answer of Yiu's. He 


can just imagine the scene. Two kinds of Westerners talk 
or try to talk with Orientals, Domenico thinks briefly. 
Those who think they know what Oriental silences and 
brevity mean. And those who know they do not know. 

"Very well, Eminence. Here's what's going to happen. 
You will be nominated by Thule — probably in the Second 
Session. He will have to put forth a policy for his can- 
didate first of all. He must do that in the First Session and 
get it passed. Then he will nominate you in the Second 
Session. Angelico has been asked to second the proposal. 
He will rise to speak . , . but he will not second. . . ." 

"Won't?" Yiu's eyebrows rise. 

"No. Then when Thule and his supporters realize their 
failure to carry Angelico 's support, there will probably be 
an attempt to rush your renomination and the seconding. 
It's an old Conclave trick, by the way, and Thule will know 
it is his best chance. Sit tight. Never refuse directiy and 
explicidy. Above all, don't speak unless you have to. No 
matter what the temptation to do so. Or the irritationl 
Make difficulties. But don't get mixed up in the melee." 

Yiu looks at Domenico, then rises. "Ni Kan should be 
told.' 1 Yiu and Ni Kan are close friends. 

"Ni Kan knows." 

At 6:45 a.m., Angelico telephones Domenico. Thule has 
spent ten minutes with Angelico before going on to say 
his private Mass. Angelico is worried, and cannot wait to 
tell Domenico. 

"His Eminence, Thule, was with me just now," he says, 
the moment that Domenico answers. 


"He asked me to second Yiu's nomination, and to unite 
the Radicals with his greup. And I said yes." 

"You agreed! Why?" 

"To gain time. Wishing to gain time." 

"But if you said 'no,' he'd be stymied for another hour 
or two and into the morning Session." 

"I don't think so. There are others. Or, at least one 


"Yes. He would be one. So my saying 'yes' now at least 
holds him up from seeking out someone else surer than 

The Final Conclave 243 

me." There is silence between them, as Domenico turns 
over the various alternatives. 

Angelico is the first to break the silence. "Can we risk 
letting it go to a policy vote in the First Session?" His fear 
is that Thule will be successful in getting the Conclave to 
approve of his policy. Once that happens the papabile 
elected would be sworn to implement that policy. 

"It'll be a near thing," Domenico comments. 

"How near?" 

'Too near for peace of mind I But not disastrously near — 
at least that's what I think. I think I can always break it." 

"Even a rush?" 

"Yes. I think so. Yes, yes. It's always a gamble. But, 
otherwise, we will never scotch the 'Thule movement.' It 
can go on and on even after the Conclave." 

"Well then " 

"No. We'll let it go. As we said." 

"And then?" 

"Register to speak at the beginning of the Second Ses- 
sion," Domenico tells Angelico. "Depending on what hap- 
pens in the First Session, we'll decide what to do later in 
the Second." 

"But, Father, supposing it all goes fast in the First Ses- 
sion, and I am called upon to second a rush nomination?" 

"It won't come to that. I have checked. There are at 
least six scheduled speakers, main speakers. Thule is last. 
Don't worry. We'll only get to the Policy vote." 

"You yourself are not speaking, Father?" 



*T want that rope to be as long as it possibly can be. We 
have some heavy bodies to hang on it. The longer, the 
surer, the cockier, the more detailed in their explanations 
they become, the longer and stronger that rope will be." 

"What about the Camerlengo?" 

"Until he sees, finally, that his General Policy is in ruins, 
he won't even begin to come around," As Angelico is about 
to reply, Domenico interrupts. Someone is knocking at his 
door. "Eminence, go and say your Mass. And pray well. 
We will talk later." 

Domenico 's visitors are Eakins and Lohngren. 
"Eminences! Come in!" 


"We have celebrated Mass already, Eminence, as you 
did yourself." Lohngren knows Domenico's habits. 

"May we have a moment of your time?" Now it is 
Eakins who speaks, smiling. 

"Hah! Your American politeness. Remember it was I 
who phoned you at the ungodly hour of 5:30 this morn- 
ing!" The three sit down. Domenico wastes no time. "Emi- 
nences, the brute fact is that the pan-European proposal 
is stillborn." He pauses. Eakins* face has dropped. Lohn- 
gren closes his mouth tight, then asks an important ques- 


"Simple. You North Americans are divided," he says to 
Eakins. "Sargent will go with Vasari and the Traditionalists, 
as will Braun. You know that. They didn't really change. 1 * 

"But Calder and . . ." 

"Calder went along on condition that Terebelski assured 
them of Karewski, Bonkowski, Kand, Franzus, and some 
others; and as long as you, Eminence," he means Lohn- 
gren, "could bring the other Germans — and now you can- 
not be sure of them, can you? And as long as your friend, 
Marsellais could deliver you the French." Marsellais again, 
Bishop of Louon, President of the European Bishops' Con- 
ference, the all-powerful Pope-maker in non-Italian Europe. 
His name figures in every strategy vote count. "Now, Mar- 
sellais cannot deliver, will not or does not deliver. I don't 
know which. Anyway, he's changed." 

"In what direction?" 

"Thule et al." 

"And the Spaniards?" 

"In the middle. In the middle, Eminences! 1 ' 

"But in a first balloting, we can still make a strong 
showing and follow that up later with . . ." 

"I doubt it — your strong showing. But even if you did, 
the tide is turning. You see, the linchpin is this: If the 
General Policy is dead — and I think that there can be no 
doubt it is, by the way — " the others nod glumly, "then 
your solution is next: i.e., let's have a non-Italian, a 
European candidate. And, then, a later Conclave can pro- 
ceed to a non-European. Now that's a lovely idea. But 
what on earth indicates to you that the Africans want a 
European? Why should they? And the Latin Americans? 
Why should they accept anything from capitalist Europe? 

"Oh no, Eminences! If from the beginning you openly 

The Final Conclave 245 

discountenanced the General Policy by suggesting your 
pan-European solution, you have cancelled the need for 
the whole first half of Thule's argument before he says a 
word. You open the door wide and you fall right into the 
hands of Thule and the Progressivists! For you have no 
candidate or policy they will accept once you open that 
door. And they have both, ready and willing and easy, or 
so they think." 

Eakins looks at Lohngren, then back to Domenico. "Why 
has Terebelski changed? After all, there were commit- 

"And still are, Eminence!" Domenico answers realistical- 
ly. "But when the conditions under which commitments 
are made have changed, the commitments fall to pieces — 
you know that!" Eakins still has something on his mind. 
Domenico knows how to wait. 

Lohngren looks at him then at Eakins: "I think, Emi- 
nence, you had better explain a little about the pan- 
European proposal." Eakins waits awhile, then turns 
around to Domenico. 

"Eminence, the plan was a little more complicated than 
would appear at first sight. The entire exercise of forming 
a pan-European bloc was not really meant to get a non- 
Italian elected. It was conceived originally to freeze a 
bloc of votes so that they would go neither to My Lord 
Angelico nor to My Lord Thule's side. Neither to the 
Radicals nor the Progressivists. The plan was meant to 
sow so much divisiveness in these two groups, that the Con- 
servatives would be the strongest alternative." 

"The delayed action, eh?" Domenico understands the 
old political game. "Having beaten down any Thule putsch 
and skeletized any support for Angelico, then the pan- 
European candidate on being nominated would refuse 
categorically and throw his support behind . . ." Domenico 
thrusts his head forward like a hawk seeking prey, "be- 
hind whom, Eminence?" 

There is an awkward silence. Domenico remains tense 
for a few more seconds, then relaxes and looks at the lists 
of Electors that lie on his desk. A half minute passes be- 
fore he speaks. His tone is sepulchral and quiet 

"I see a very dark hand, a very long and dark hand, 
stretching out of the labyrinthine folds, all velvet, all silent, 
all smooth, reaching out and getting a stranglehold on 
whatever initiative there is for renewal, for good, for fresh 


hope. And I am speaking of God's people, in that last 
phrase, Eminences." He looks up and smiles a little grimly 
at the other two, then looks down again. He lifts a sheet 
of paper off his desk, reads a little then drops it. "Such 
plotting and planning is sad, Eminences. Very sad. 

"And I will tell you how sad. It's sad because, first of 
all, it has failed before it could even spring. It failed. The 
plan is bankrupt. Thule has you surrounded. 

"It's sad, secondly, because as you know better than I 
do, those bishops outside who know of your plot have had 
their hopes raised — they expect huge liberalizations, huge 
changes. But bearable changes. But they are not so clever 
at maneuvering as you. They believe in your alternative. 
Not as a plot, but for its own sake. Now can you imagine 
their chagrin when you are beaten, so to speak? When you, 
Eminence, shoo in somebody like Vasari or Ferro, who is 
anathema to those bishops? Can you imagine what is going 
to happen? And what damage do you think Thule and his 
Progressivist theologians are going to do after the Con- 
clave? Can you imagine? Have you foreseen all that? Nol 
You didn't stop to think!" 

"Then what alternatives are there?" Eakins* question. 

"Alternatives! Alternatives! Alternatives! I hear nothing 
but that word and question from those who have gone 
around for a couple of years blithely forging their own 
very private and miserable alternatives! Alternatives?" 
Domenico is almost laughing in a sardonic way, but his in- 
nate kindness stops him short of it. 

Lohngren takes up. "And so, Eminence? Now? Right 
now" — looking at his watch — "in approximately three 
hours, what?" 

"This, simply this. Let Thule run, as far, as fast, as ex- 
plicit, as outrageous, as presumptuous as he can and as he 

"But that will mean certain death for the General Policy, 
and then?" 

"No." Domenico is almost reproving in his response. 
"Come, come! We can have no false hopes. We must serve 
Jesus better. We all know that the General Policy is dead 
already. That's a fact. It only remains to put that fact on 

"So what do we do?" 

"Pray, Eminence, pray! And when the time comes, use 
your heads. The Second Session will be crucial." 

The Find Conclave 247 

Eakins looks at him. "Eminence, whatever happens, we 
will not support any move in Angelico 's direction. For 
Angelico means a whole host of things we have fought 

"I know. I know." Domenico looks at him. "I know, 
Eminence. But why did you set yourself up as the execu- 
tioner of Capovero and the others? And why tag along 
with the anti-Paul group?" Dom Dino Capovero, one of 
Pope Paul 6's personal assistants, had been, with his close 
associates, in constant clash with Eakins and his supporters. 
A whole army of powerful Vatican officials wanted An- 
gelico's head. For Angelico was hated for much. 

"But," Domenico concludes, "this is not a time for 
vendettas, or for mutual backscratching. The times are 

But Eakins is not satisfied. He starts again to ask Do- 
menico if another way cannot be found to make a genuine 
pan-European candidacy viable. Eakins still fears an An- 
gelico movement. 

Domenico looks at him for a moment, his eyes narrow- 
ing, then he uses a cold, lofty tone of voice. "Eminence! 
Look at it like this. Your home city is a very big, very 
rich, very fast, very powerful city and diocese. It is a very 
big political center. You have ample there to occupy you. 
When you come here, remember that you can in no way 
introduce any interests other than Rome's — even if those 
other interests coincide with Rome's. None of us finally 
can be messenger boys for anyone. Just messengers of 
Jesus, our Lord." There is no word from Eakins. But his 
face has no pleasantry in its look. 

Lohngren stands up. Eakins follows suit. "I suppose it 
will be the Second or even the Third Session?" Lohngren 

"The vote on a candidate? Yes. One of the two. The 
Policy vote will probably be in the First Session. Let's pray 
and work. Good morning, Eminences I" 

When Eakins and Lohngren leave Domenico, he crosses 
to his desk and telephones. "Eminence?" He is speaking 
to Riccioni now. "Have you got a few moments . . . ? At 
7:30? Very well. Here? Fine! Thanks!" He hangs up. 

When Riccioni arrives, it is obvious that he has had a 
bad night. And a short night's sleep. He is very pale. And 
his expression is one of profound distress. 

"I don't know what to tell you, Eminence," he begins 


to Domenico once they are seated together. "Everything 
seems to be crumbling around us. What are we to do? Go 
into schism? It's as bad as that, at times it really seems so. 
Last night, it was obvious that Thule was digging his feet 
in. This morning, I was over with the Americans — Braun 
and Bronzino were there, too — and it is obvious that any 
collapse of the General Policy is going to mean a danger 
to our long-range investment plans. I wouldn't mind that 
so much, if it didn't also entail honeymooning with non- 
Catholics and Marxists," 

"Eminence, 1 * Domenico says gently, "the General Policy 
is as dead as the dodo. Start from there." 

"But where do we go from there, Brother? To cap it all, 
it seems that Lombardi is heading a fission among the 
Italians. Incredible! Incredible!" 

Lombardi is a foreign-bom Italian. At fifty-seven years 
old, he has climbed rapidly from simple priest to Bishop 
fo Cardinal and Prefect of a Roman Congregation. Lom- 
bardi is suspected by many to be too liberal — and certainly 
too young for any responsibility. 

"Not incredible at all! We already know they are split!" 
Domenico rejoins. 

"So we are faced with a huge, yawning chasm of hetero- 
doxy, Protestantism, secularization of the Liturgy — as if 
we hadn't gone far enough already. And politization of the 
Church in the name of the proletarian revolution! Diol 
It's too much. We've got to do something" Riccioni is 
looking into the middle distance and speaking, as it were, 
to the ceiling. 

"Eminence," Domenico still speaks gently, "I share all 
your distress. But the solution does not lie in our losing 
our presence of mind or going hog-wild." Riccioni's temper 
is well-known. Domenico needs to be certain that he him- 
self will retain control of events in the crucial Sessions 
coming up. 

"I know. I'm inclined to go hog-wild. I see red. Diol I 
see red in another sense!" exclaims Riccioni. 

"Now, Eminence, we are not there yet. And you know 
that as well as I do." 

"But, Domenico, have you seen or heard of the plan — 
I mean Thule 's plan for a new International Council of 
Theologians who would function with the Pope and the 
Congregation for the Faith and with the Bishops' Synod, 

The Final Conclave 249 

and which would not be merely consultative but could lay 
down doctrinal regulations? Have you seen that plan?" 

"Yes," Domenico says quietly. "I've seen it. It stinks." 
One of Thule's pet projects has been the creation of a 
permanent body of theologians meeting every year for a 
couple of months in Rome. The members would be ap- 
pointed by the bishops around the world. There would be 
12 permanent members drawn from Protestant churches 
who would not be mere observers: They would participate 
in the proceedings. The Council would be a legislative 
body: The Pope would be obliged ex officio to follow its 
majority rulings. 

"Can you imagine what Kung, what Dulles, what Schille- 
beeckx and all the others would do in that Council?" Rio 
cioni asks in horror. "And the permanent Protestant mem- 

"Eminence, look!" Domenico remonstrates and soothes 
the old Cardinal. "We all know that Kung and Dulles and 
Curran and Schillebeeckx and the others are more Prot- 
estant than Catholic. They and many others are close to 
heresy in matters such as the Incarnation, the Trinity, 
priestly celibacy, sexual morality, and so on. But we can 
deal with them, Eminence. We can manage them. We can 
salvage what is good. We can reject and expel the rest. 
Do not worry on that score " 

"But beyond all that, what about the Marxization of the 
Church? I always said Montini's Ostpolitik was crazy. I 
told Roncalli (Pope John 23) that he was wrong. I've been 
saying so for years to Montini and Casaroli and Silvestrini 
and all the other intellectual greyhounds at the Secretariat." 

"We have moral imperatives," Domenico says reproving- 
ly, "to seek justice and peace in the world." His voice has 
hardened ever so slightly. "We cannot and should not stop 
talking to each and every government, be they non-Cath- 
olic or Communist or what-not. Do you want us to retire 
from the world? Of course not, Eminence! What's bother- 
ing you is bothering me. It is the way in which all this is 
being done. . . ." 

"Precisely!" Riccioni is on fire again. "Precisely, Emi- 
nence. The way in which we do it. Have we no alternative?" 

"Oh no! Not that again!" Domenico says in mock horror 
flinging up his hands in protest. "Every one of you comes 
in through that door crying about alternatives. What have 


you been doing all this time, Eminence? Why haven't you 
developed an alternative?" 

"We have! We have!" Riccioni is off again. "The age 
old doctrine. A return to . . ." 

"No, Eminence." Domenico is calm again. "No! What 
you must get into your head is that there is no going back. 
You cannot. We cannot. The Church cannot. No going 

"Then well fight. Every inch of the way. Every minute 
of every hour of every day. For months, if necessary!" 

"And how long would you really last, Riccioni?" Do- 
menico becomes harsh in tone. "Tell me, how many of you 
are there? Have you anyone you can really rely upon? In 
the Conclave, I mean. And today? This morning? How 

"Well, there's myself. There's Dowd, Nolasco, Braun, 
Maderno, Pozzo, Duccio, Vasari, Lamermais, Carracci, 
Walker, Houdon, Bronzino" — Riccioni falters — "and that's 
only the beginning." 

"You name twelve. I'm not sure even of all of them. But, 
for argument's sake, let's go on. How many more? Ten 
more? Twenty more?" Riccioni's response is silence. He 
unfolds his arms and looks at Domenico for a long mo- 
ment When he speaks, he is subdued in tone. Even in all 
his fury and temperament, he does see. 
"What do you counsel, Domenico?" 
"First of all, we must not panic. For this reason I want 
to ask you a favor, Riccioni. Please! Do not make a major 
speech. Harass them all you want. Interrupt them. Coun- 
sel against them in private. Heckle them. But in public 
session do not, I repeat, do not, make any major speech." 
"Why not, Domenico? Why should . . ." 
"Because, when you start, you are like a red rag to a 
bull. You simply rub most of them the wrong way. And 
they immediately want to oppose you. Pardon me, Emi- 
nence! But that is the fact, is it not?" 

Riccioni nods mournfully, but says nothing. 
"So," Domenico repeats. "Harass them! Harangue them 
With one-liners. Applaud at the right time! Yawn. Do what 
you can. But no major speeches." 

Riccioni is quiet again, for a little while. Then he speaks 
in a very resigned tone. "Very well, Domenico. But you 
know what galls me and what I cannot understand? Well, 
the Camerlengo and company here have been flirting with 

The Final Conclave 251 

Masaccio for almost two years now. And you know, if 
Masaccio got the election, the Camerlengo and his friends 
would be the first to go. Between Masaccio and myself 
there is more than a small difference. Yet, they cannot see 
that they are safer with us, with me, with the Traditionalist 
bloc. We won't boot them out!" 

"Masaccio and the Conservatives have almost as small 
a chance as your Eminence — I mean your Eminence's 
ideas — of prevailing. Look! These things are not predic- 
tions; it's just what is going to happen. The fact is that a 
vast change has taken place out there in the Church. In 
the people of the Church, I mean. That is the Church, you 
know! Neither the Conservative nor Traditionalist plan 
will correspond with the reality of that change. Now, here 
comes Thule and Franzus and Buff and Lombardi and 
Marquez and all the others — the young Turks! — with a 
different plan. And screaming the house down that they 
know what is going on!" 

"Do they?" Riccioni asks incredulously. Domenico 
pauses and looks away. He thinks. 

"Yes and no," he says finally. "Yes and no. They cer- 
tainly see what causes our problems — the big change. I 
don't think they understand that change. And I find their 
solution is social and political rubbish and — in terms of 
what Jesus' Church should be — dangerous stupidity. But 
they do see the change." 

"May the good Lord Jesus, Lord of all, save our Church!" 
Riccioni says as he rises. His short prayer is sincere and 
fervent. He stands for a moment looking at the floor. 
Then: "I will do as you suggest. But, how long must we 
so temporize?" 

"As long as is necessary to create a strong hanging- 
halter." Domenico 's lifeless tone emphasizes his meaning. 

Riccioni shoots a quick glance at him. "Should I speak 
to Masaccio?" he asks Domenico. 

"No, I've been on the phone with him. He's all right. 
He understands. He's better now than he was last night. 
He's all right, Eminence!" Domenico glances at his watch. 
"In five minutes the bell is going to ring for the Mass of 
the Holy Spirit. A crucial day begins." Riccioni under- 
stands that Domenico is still asking if he can rely on Ric- 
cioni's staying under control. 

"Domenico!" Riccioni has regained his peace and some 


measure of confidence. "Let's go and give a good account 
of ourselves." 

"Right, Eminence!" Domenico rejoins warmly. "Right I " 
He smiles. "Haven't you Venetian fishermen a phrase that 
covers a dark dawn that will be followed by a brilliant 

Riccioni's old good humor rises. "No dark day in Venice 
is followed by brilliance of sunshine. If we start off bad, 
we are bad to the endl" 

"Let's go, Riccionil God BlessI" 

It is 8:45 a.m., and the bell is ringing for the Mass of the 
Holy Spirit in the House Chapel. This morning, it is the 
Camerlengo who will be the celebrant. All the Cardinals 
are supposed to attend, unless their health forbids it. 

Across in the other wing of the Conclave area, the cau- 
cus of the Latin American Cardinals is just breaking up. 
It has been held in the apartment of Teofilo. Present there 
also were Zubaran, Hildebrandt, Ribera, Gris, and the 
young Cardinal with the stutter. 

At the bell, they disperse quickly. Some return to their 
rooms on their way to the Chapel. Others go straight to the 

The young Cardinal goes back to his room, ostensibly 
to pick up his prayer book and some notes. He automati- 
cally fingers the ruby on his pectoral cross. This seems a 
habitual and frequent gesture of his. He reflects. This is 
not the best of mornings for the Cardinal. He had a dream 
this morning just before awakening — or so it seems to him 
now. One of those repetitive nagging dreams. He cannot 
remember its sequence — if it had any. All he can recall 
now is a skewed perspective in which something delicate 
and beautiful — a butterfly, a moth — flowing in many colors 
landed on his hand or near him in some intimate way. He 
has a lingering sensation in his memory of fire and crum- 
pling wings, melting colors. It is all he can remember. But 
the sense of loss is deep. He hurries down to the Chapel. 

Inside, except for Patti and Morris — both feeling unwell 
this morning — all the Cardinal Electors are kneeling. The 
Camerlengo has begun celebrating the Mass. An air of 
tranquility and unison pervades the Chapel. As the young 
Cardinal slips into the nearest pew, he finds himself beside 
Reynolds of Oceania. Some emotion, unbidden, and un- 

The Final Conclave 253 

controlled but not violent, wells up in him. And right 
through the Mass, it stays present with him, like the voice 
of a gentle visitor asking to be admitted. 

As the other Electors recite the Mass prayers, he joins 
in sporadically. Each time he says any of those words out 
loud, he feels that the great granite millstone time has been 
for him up to this moment is now melting. The arched 
Chapel itself becomes like a flimsy kite flying skyward 
into the unknown. And all its occupants are become in 
some disturbing way unknown and alien to him. And the 
sanctuary with the Camerlengo celebrating at the Altar is 
a vault of dreams burned by the fire from the Altar candles 
and the two flickering red sanctuary lamps permanently 
lit on either side. He fingers that ruby on his pectoral cross 
and remembers again the Embassy reception three months 
ago where he was feted and congratulated, then introduced 
into the Ambassador's private quarters. There they pre- 
sented him with the heavily bejeweled pectoral cross. "It 
is special," the Ambassador had said. "Later we will ex- 
plain about it." They had explained. Dim snatches from his 
memory of this early morning's dream float down his con- 
sciousness and mingle with a new sense of regret for what 
was done by him, and by what he is bound to do. 

Only when the Camerlengo turns around at the end of 
Mass, only then does the Cardinal return to himself fully. 
It is 9:40 a.m. As he rises and genuflects, he takes in the 
Altar and the pews and the wall frescoes and the Cardinals 
around him shuffling out. Again that feeling of the alien, 
the being not-at-home any longer. Once, all such things 
and people used to be near him, intimately near as a veil 
of holy air, as the intangible joy of holy fire. Now he sees 
them as far off or, maybe, it is he himself who is far off. 
He turns his back and with the others makes his way to 
the main door and the busses. 


In his temporary office off the Upper Room, the Camer- 
lengo waits until the young Monsignore comes for him. 
Outside, most of the Electors are chatting while they wait 
for the warning bell announcing the First Session. There is 
an air of anticipation and camaraderie. But many are ex- 
changing little confidences, passing words of advice, assess- 


ing the numbers of Electors in favor of this or that issue, 
and probing each other on those issues. 

Promptly at 9:45 a.m. the warning bell rings. Already, 
little knots of Cardinals have gathered inside the main door. 

The young Monsignore is sitting at his table just outside, 
taking notes, receiving messages and commissions, giving 
out messages. At three minutes to ten, the young Mon- 
signore stands up, goes to the Camerlengo and announces: 
"Just two minutes more, Eminence!" 

"In a moment." The Camerlengo's voice comes as a 
cracking whip. When he emerges, his face is white and his 
look worried. "Good! Let's go!" 

Within minutes, he enters the Conclave. The young 
Monsignore closes and locks the doors from the outside. 
He sits down at his table, takes out his watch, winds it, 
places it on the table, opens his diary, and starts writing. 

Inside, all proceeds according to rule and convention. The 
Camerlengo briskly announces the first order of the day 
to be the election of this First Session's three presiding 
Cardinals, its Presidents. This, the Camerlengo proposes, 
can be done in a simple way. Each of the three main 
political groups in the Conclave will nominate a represen- 
tative. These three Cardinals will then agree on the identity 
of the three Presidents of this Session. A general voice and 
hand vote will confirm or reject their choices. Still using 
the same method they will then elect three Scrutineers who 
will count the ballots, and three Revisers who will check 
the ballot count performed by the Scrutineers. Lastly, the 
Cardinals will appoint three Infirmarii who will carry bal- 
lots that must be filled by any Cardinal who is confined 
to bed or to his room during a voting session. 

These elections do not take long, as all are agreed on 
getting the Conclave off to a quick start. Within twenty 
minutes, Koi-Lo-Po of Oceania is named the First Pres- 
ident, to be flanked by Tobey of the United States and 
Lamy of France as co-Presidents. 

The Scrutineers are Thule, Bronzino, and Kiel. Uccello 
of the Roman Curia, Constable of India, and Lang-Che- 
Ning of Oceania become the Revisers. The Infirmarii are 
Ni Kan, Franzus, and Chaega. 

The Scrutineers, the Revisers, and the Infirmarii remain 
seated in their places. The three Presidents move up to the 

The Final Conclave 255 

Long Table. The Camerlengo shakes each one's hand. 
There is some amiable applause. Then he goes to his own 
place. Everybody settles bacL 

Koi-Lo-Po puts on his reading glasses, glances at the 
schedule in front of him, takes off his glasses, and holds a 
short low-voiced conversation with his co-Presidents. 

Then he addresses the Conclave. "My Brother Cardinals, 
My Most Eminent Lords Tobey and Lamy join with me in 
thanking your Eminences for the confidence bestowed on 
us by this appointment. We will endeavor to fulfill our 
duties as efficiently as we can." He stops. Tobey is shov- 
ing a typewritten notice toward him along the table. Koi- 
Lo-Po puts on his reading glasses again. It takes him a few 
seconds to read what Tobey has passed to him. Looking 
over the top of his glasses he goes on addressing the Car- 

"It is suggested by the Camerlengo — who, I am sure, 
has sounded out all shades of opinion amongst you — that 
we hold a first and preliminary balloting about the status 
of the General Policy" Tobey looks over at the Camer- 
lengo who has closed his eyes and sunk his head on his 

"In order to expedite matters, I suggest — and this is the 
idea of my fellow-Presidents also — that we have a voice- 
and-hand vote as to whether we should proceed to the bal- 
loting on the General Policy" He pauses. There are no 
objections. "So, will all those Reverend Cardinals in favor 
of a first balloting on the status of the General Policy, 
please raise their hands and declare themselves clearly by 
saying ItaJ " 

Ni Kan's hand is the first to go up, followed by Yiu's, 
Thule's, Franzus', Marquez's, and then a whole forest of 
hands; all this is accompanied by a chorus of "Ital" in 
over a hundred different tones and accents. Koi-Lo-Po 
scans the assembly, compares notes with his co-Presidents. 

"Will all those against a first balloting on this issue now 
signify their dissent by raising their hands and declaring 
their intention by saying 'Non' out loud." Three voices say 
'Nonl' — Vasari, Pincio, and Bronzino. Their hands follow; 
then about ten other Cardinals join them in saying 'Non' 
and raising their hands. 

"Clearly, Most Eminent Brothers, the majority is in 
favor of a balloting. So let us proceed with it. Your ballot, 
to be valid, must carry three elements: your name; a sym- 


bol or a verse of Scripture that will be a means of verify- 
ing your ballot without uncovering your name in case of 
any doubt; and then your actual vote itself. You first write 
your name. Then make a fold along the dotted line so that 
your name is covered. Then inscribe your choice of symbol 
or Scripture verse. Then make another fold along the sec- 
ond dotted line, and on the outside of the ballot write 
placet (it pleases) if you approve of the General Policy 
and wish it to be the framework of our discussions. If you 
disapprove, you write the words non placet (it does not 

"My co-Presidents will now distribute the special ballot 
papers. I suggest that the Scrutineers and Revisers get 
their ballots marked as soon as possible, and then take 
their places at the side tables. In order to hurry things, I 
am going to ask the three Scrutineers, the three Revisers, 
and the three Infirmarii to help in the distribution of the 
ballot papers. Please let all Electors wait until this distribu- 
tion is complete before filling out their ballot." 

Already Tobey and Lamy have stood up. Koi-Lo-Po 
hands them each a packet of ten ballot papers. Franzus, 
Ni Kan, and Chaega are at his side receiving similar 
packets of ten ballot papers. After them, Thule, Bronzino, 
and Kiel arrive for their packets. Within minutes, Lamy 
is back. But Koi-Lo-Po makes him wait until all the others 
have finished. 

"How many, Reverend Brothers, have as yet no ballot 
papers?" he asks. Eight hands are lifted. Koi-Lo-Po counts 
out eight more ballots. Lamy distributes them. Then the 
Revisers, Scrutineers and Infirmarii regain their seats. Koi- 
Lo-Po rings the silver bell of the President, The Cardinals 
start marking the ballots. 

Koi-Lo-Po, having marked his ballot, looks up and waits, 
watching until finally each Cardinal Elector has stopped 
writing and is sitting back on his throne. He has whispered 
words with his co-Presidents. 

"Eminences, seeing that we are not balloting about a 
Papal candidate but on the issue of a policy, my co-Presi- 
dents and I feel that it would be quickest and most desir- 
able if some of our younger officials — My Lords Chaega, 
let us say, and Kiel — went around and collected the bal- 

But there is an immediate outcry at this. No one wants 
that. Too much chance of deception. There is a chorus of 

The Fined Conclave 257 

"Non!" "Non placet!" "Nonl" The majority wishes that 
everyone place his ballot, publicly, alone in full view of 
all, into the chalice provided for ballots. The chalice is 
on the Altar. 

"So let it be, Eminent Brothers!" Koi-Lo-Po shrugs. 
"So let it be. We will proceed according to rule." 

The three Scrutineers take up places by the Altar on 
which the chalice stands. Then the Camerlengo as senior 
Cardinal stands up, proceeds quickly to the Altar, genu- 
flects and swears out loud: "I swear by this Holy Altar 
that I have chosen as best as God has given me to see," 
rises, drops his ballot into the Chalice, and returns to his 
place. Already, Pincio and Ferro, as the next two in 
seniority, are waiting to do likewise. The process really goes 
faster than most had anticipated. All are concentrating 
with the Scrutineers on each hand as it is raised, and as 
it drops the cream-colored ballot paper into the Chalice. 

Within twenty minutes, the balloting is over. The scrutiny 
starts. The three Scrutineers take the chalice to their own 
table. Seated there, Thule, as the senior Scrutineer, takes 
out one ballot, notes the vote on a sheet of paper provided 
with two columns, and passes the vote to the next senior 
Scrutineer, Bronzino, who does likewise and gives the bal- 
lot to Kiel who reads the vote out loud — "Placet" he reads 
in a loud firm voice from the first ballot. Then he drops 
the ballot into another chalice. While Thule is extracting 
the next ballot Kiel is marking that first placet on his own 
sheet of paper. And throughout the assembly of Cardinals, 
each one is keeping his own tally. 

The atmosphere of the Conclave changes palpably ac- 
cording as this process continues. After a burst of 17 non 
placets following on the heels of that first placet, there 
then comes a series of 28 placets. As the number of these 
positive votes mounts past 25, there is a visible relaxing on 
certain faces. Vasari and Pincio smile at each other. The 
Camerlengo begins to perk up and look his usual business- 
like self. "Just ten more, please God! Ten more! And we 
have the start we need!" Masaccio whispers half out loud 
to his neighbors. One-third is 39. Only two-thirds plus 
one are needed for victory. 

But then, the non placets start again. The Camerlengo, 
sedulously marking his tally sheet, sees the number ris- 
ing .. . 54, 55, 56 ... in the non-placet column. When the 
number reaches 71 and is still rising, he lays his pencil 


down calmly and sits back. Opposite him, he* finds An- 
gelico 's eyes glued on his. "It's all over with your General 
Policy, my friend," is Angelico's silent message. "I know, 
my friend. I know. You were right," says the Camerlengo's 
silent answering stare. 

The twenty or so minutes which the Scrutiny has taken 
have passed like three minutes. The three Scrutineers com- 
pare their columns, find that they tally, then Thule takes 
his own tally sheet, Bronzino and Kiel initial it. Thule 
walks up to the Presidents' table and hands it to Koi-Lo- 
Po. Koi-Lo-Po glances at his columns: 82 non placets, 35 
placets. The General Policy is finished. 

"Eminences! The Scrutiny is as follows: Placet, 35; Non 
placet, 82." The Camerlengo's face is inscrutable. Lohn- 
gren glances at him and then at Angelico. Angelico is 
watching everyone, but seems neither elated nor depressed. 
Domenico has his arms folded, his eyes cast down looking 
at his writing table. On the faces of the older Cardinals — 
Pincio, Vasari, Riccioni, and others — there is a mixture of 
consternation and steely determination. Ni Kan is doodling. 
Buff is seen nodding wisely to Franzus. Thule is very calm 
and grave. 

"Eminences!" Koi-Lo-Po goes on, "properly speaking we 
should ask the Revisers to review the results of the Scru- 
tineers. But seeing, again, that this is a vote on issues and 
not on persons, would it please Your Eminences to dispense 
with the Revision, and to proceed with our business?" There 
are a few silent moments. People look around at each 
other. No one has any objection. For a moment, it looks 
as if Azande is going to say something, but Angelico cranes 
around and gives him a stare. 

"Well, then, Eminences, it looks as if we must declare 
the will of this Conclave to be that the General Policy is 
dropped." He looks at the Camerlengo and feels a great 
compassion. For the Camerlengo is suffering deeply and 
bravely. "So, the Holy Spirit has spoken." It is meant for 
that man's consolation. What the Camerlengo has worked 
at for at least three years has come crumbling down within 
one half hour. 

Koi-Lo-Po continues: "At this juncture, my Brothers, 
would it be outlandish of me to make a suggestion — which 
is purely of my own initiative and a deviation from the 
agenda? We need an orientation now, in order to find a 
fresh path — and quickly. I propose we ask some Brother 

The Final Conclave 259 

Cardinal whom we all venerate to give us his mind on the 
matter. And offhand, it seems to me that My Lord Do- 
menico is that venerable person." Koi-Lo-Po looks around 
searching the faces. "For all of us! What do you think, 

There is a general murmur of assent, some light ap- 
plause, and cries of "Bravo! a Domenico la parola!" (Let 
Domenico speak) . Koi-Lo-Po looks over at Domenico and 
nods his head smilingly. Domenico, still seated, looks at 
Koi-Lo-Po, then glances around at his fellow-Electors. He 
smiles indulgently and pleasurably, then starts to rise from 
his seat. 

"Most Eminent President, beloved Colleagues!" It is the 
voice of Cardinal Buff. The Anglo-Saxon has an amiable 
but wary look on his face which says that he wants to be 
friendly but please don't interfere with him, that he hates 
being interfered with. "I am as lost in admiration of our 
Brother, My Lord Domenico as any one of us here." Buff 
smiles sunnily at all and sundry. "I would like" — he em- 
phasizes that 'would' — "to point out, however, that for our 
own sakes we should proceed constitutionally — especially 
in a crisis of this nature." His look becomes paternal and 
solicitous. "We cannot act too circumspectly." 

Thule has a solemn look on his face at this moment. 
The Camerlengo is taking notes. Franzus is signalling Lynch 
in order to alert him: "You're the first to speak!" 

"Now," Buff goes on in a brisk, let's-get-it-over-with 
tone, "we have already a list of speakers, all registered duly 
and lawfully and comme it faut with the Camerlengo last 
evening, if I'm not mistaken. They really have priority, you 
know, over all of us, even over our most venerable Lord 
Cardinal Domenico." Buff gives his most unctuous beam 
of a smile toward Domenico. "You," he looks again at 
Domenico, "Your Eminence would be the first to agree. 
Yes?" Domenico nods quietly. Buff looks then at Koi-Lo- 
Po and sits down. 

There is an uneasy feeling in the assembly. The Presi- 
dent has already conferred with his two confreres. Koi- 
Lo-Po wants a fight with no one. Not now. 

"My Lord Cardinal Buff is to be thanked," Koi-Lo-Po 
announces in a formal tone. "Time, as well as good orderly 
procedure, requires us to hasten along arranged paths. I 
call therefore on His Eminence, My Most Reverend Lord 
Cardinal Lynch!" 


Lynch stands up, walks quietly to the Altar, kneels a 
moment, rises, and turns to speak. There is no hurry in 
his manner, only dispatch: He has something important 
to say, and it must be said now, 

"Venerable Brothers. I stand before you at this moment 
to make a solemn announcement. I announce what, it 
seems to me, is the essential fact dominating our choice 
of a new Pope. I beg you to listen to me with all the wis- 
dom and love of Christ's Church. For, whether we realize 
it or not, today in this Conclave, we are deciding for or 
against the life of that Church such as we have always 
known her. 

"The Church as the body of Jesus' salvation will live for 
always, of course. But we are busy with the institutional 
Church. That is our 'job'." The Cardinal's tones are soft, 
his words limpid; and through his voice there runs that 
charming sense of gentleness that his country generates in 
its children. 

"The announcement is simple: The Christian world is 
dead and gone. Not merely the Christian heartland in 
southern Europe. But the Christian world. The entire com- 
plex of culture, thought, feeling, art, morality, folkways, 
public decorum, international mores — all that Christian 
world is no more. 

"We live in a still cemetery today, and the tombstones 
of this cemetery record the occupants of each sad grave." 
No one among Lynch's listeners has any doubts that an 
intense sadness and regret fills hin^-as he pours out these 
words. Tears are present in more than one pair of eyes. 
He would have said these things even had the General 
Policy vote been different. But by their vote they have said, 
in effect, that they know an era has ended. They must 
find a new way. 

"Tombstones, I said. . . . The Family. The Human Per- 
son. The Parish. The Diocese. The Catholic School. The 
Catholic Political Party. The Catholic Newspaper. Maga- 
zine. Printing-Press. Chivalric Honor. The Love Poem. 
Church Music. The Latin Liturgy. The Dogmatic Voice. 
The Dignity of Priesthood. The Inviolability of the Sex 
Act. The Uniqueness of Heterosexuality. . . . Need I go 
on listing all the names on those silent tombstones? We are 
surrounded by them, Eminent Brothers." He pauses. 

"We all know them. Some of us still act as if they were 
living and breathing with us. But, in our heart of hearts, 

The Final Conclave 261 

we know that we are living with ghosts, walking with 
memories of the dead. That whole Christian world is dead. 
And we had better put the memory behind us. And . . ." 
he catches himself as if he had forgotten elements of 
prime importance, "the Privilege of all-male Priesthood. 
The Petrine Privilege. The Privilege of Money. The Priv- 
ilege of the Elite. All the Privileges, my Most Eminent 
Brothers, all gone." 

At this stage, some of the Cardinals are murmuring. 
Vasari is saying something over the heads of the Cardinals 
near him to Borromini who is seated down from him. Thule 
is gesturing to Franzus. The Camerlengo is a study in 
languor. He cannot stand the Hispanic manner, even in the 
best of circumstances. 

"Vivit Christusl" (Christ lives) Vasari exclaims suddenly 
from his place. 

"Vivit et vivet semperl" (He lives and will always live) 
Riccioni cries out perfervidly, with a sharp glance of con- 
gratulations to Vasari. 

The Cardinal President rings his bell. Lynch smiles in- 
dulgently. "Indeed Christ is alive. Christ will always live. 
Amenl" About forty Cardinals add their Amens to this. 
Lynch goes on, a shining look on his face. "But am I say- 
ing anything else but restating clearly the conclusions in 
the General Framework Taper, over which we all have 
pondered, asking ourselves how we have come to such 
straits?" At this, there are some rumbles of commentary 
from the ranks. Lynch takes it up immediately. "Those who 
would object — and I understand their objections, believe 
me — are merely afraid. 

'Tear, my Venerable Brethren. Just plain fear. But we 
serve a Lord who said: 'Fear not! It is 1/ So let us not 
fear." Lynch looks around calmly, smiling gently. 

"But, Brothers, far more telling for us than craven fear 
or misunderstandings is the judgment we should pass on 
this already dead Christian world. . . ." Again there is an 
exclamation of "Vivit Christusl Ecclesia Christi Vivit!" 
(Christ is alive! The Church of Christ is alive!) Lynch 
holds up his hand in a small gesture of annoyance at being 

*'I said 'the Christian world is dead, 1 not 'the Christian 
religion is dead 1 or that *the Christian Church is dead.' 
Your very confusion of that Christian world with the 
Church of Christ may be the greatest danger the Church 


faces. They are not one and the same thing, you know, 
Venerable Lord Vasari. And I am speaking of the Christian 
world, the world created by Christians." There is silence 
now from Vasari's corner. 

"And the judgment which we should not be afraid to 
pronounce, my Most Eminent Brothers, is that this Chris- 
tian world had to die. It failed in its task. So it had to die. 

"Christians set out on a temporal task: to create a socio- 
political framework for all men, in which the truths of the 
Gospel of Jesus would be realized. That was the dream of 
Gregory the Great, of the early Fathers who spoke of 
Heaven upon earth, of an earthly paradise. 

"And after one thousand years of predominance, what 
was the world like? What sort of a paradise on earth had 
Christians produced? 

"They produced a world in which everything — temporal 
politics, economics, culture, marriage, family, work, coun- 
try — everything was supposed to be subject to the sacral 
role of clergymen, the Bishop of Rome and his clerical 
bureaucracy in Rome and elsewhere. Yes, it had a unity. 
The unity of a holy empire. It imposed an intellectual 
unity and a political unity, within predetermined intel- 
lectual structures and predetermined political structures. 

"And most poignantly, it made everything temporal an 
instrument of the spiritual: the spiritual role of priest and 
Pope, the supernatural teachings of theologians, the guided 
thinking of philosophers. More to the point, everything 
temporal, social, and political was used to further the 
spiritual. Physical means (war, torture, punishment) and 
psychological means (exile, excommunication, censorship 
and the like) . 

"Everything on earth was supposed to serve for the 
establishment of a social and political structure dedicated 
to the cause of Christ. 

"And what did happen? What actually did take place, 
my Brothers? What sort of a world did Christians spawn? 

"A society in which the elite dominated and the masses 
were kept beneath, because that society connived at cruelty, 
it condoned slavery, it controlled the poverty of millions. 
It stifled intellectual initiative. 

"It made clerical privileges a means of fomenting per- 
sonal ambitions and family fortunes. It produced a human- 
ism — a t its height in the Renaissance — which was an- 
thropocentric, and selfishly anthropocentric. It evolved the 

The Final Conclave 263 

capitalist society, the corporation society, a society dedi- 
cated to money, to paper, to machines, to wealth, to eco- 
nomics, to mechanical evolution, to the meaning of the 
laboring masses, to a Classification of finance in the manip- 
ulative hands of the privileged few. The bourgeois intel- 
lectual. The, bourgeois priest. The bourgeois Pope. The 
bourgeois Church. The bourgeois capitalist system. A sys- 
tem, by the way, which cannibalized itself. It enthroned 
reason as the crown of faith. And then it made reason all- 
surficient, and the individual the sole reason for all living 
and being. The bourgeois world. The Christian world. 

"But there was one more and deeper mistake. It shut 
up divine truth in a cloaked tabernacle of privileged in- 
fallibility. It made divine worship and religious practice 
rubber-stamp formulas. It laid happiness away in Heaven 
— as the Americans say, pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die. It 
outlawed and exiled all other religious thinking and activity 
from the City of God. 

"But, as many had predicted down the centuries, the 
City of Man revolted. And, as many never foresaw, the 
City of God, the socio-political City of God created by 
Christians, disintegrated. The working classes turned away 
from and rejected that City of God in the nineteenth and 
twentieth centuries. And the intellectuals broke out of 
their iron chains, shattering the mental hold the Christian 
world had upon them until then. There were giants in those 
days, to quote Scripture at this point. Darwin, Freud, 
Hegel, Comte, Marx. And they made war on the bourgeois 
gentleman and the bourgeois God and his bourgeois Church 
and the bourgeois salvation of that bourgeois Church. 

"And now around us in the ruins of that Christian 
world, we see masses rising up in a war of desperation, 
intent on giving birth to a wholly new humanism, the 
humanism of collective man, no longer slave but master of 
all the machines. 

"Thus the death of the Christian world, my Brothers! 

"There can be only two reactions to this death. One, 
which doubtless My Lord Cardinal Riccioni and those of 
like mind will champion. It is reactionary. It says: Let us 
return to our pure beginnings, to primitive faith. Let us 
correct the deviations. Let us tighten our ranks, expel the 

"But where in such a reaction, may I ask you, is the 
confidence in Christ's grace? Are we so dead with sin, so 


bound by Calvinistic pessimism, so inept, that we can only 
go back? Run back to the shelter of broken walls and 
shattered towers? Inhabit the graveyard of all our yester- 

"No! I trust Christ more than that. You all, Venerable 
Brothers, trust Christ more than that!" 

There are now a few scattered "Ita's" flung at Lynch. 
Some Cardinals are impressed by the gentle force of this 
intense man, and by his obviously good intentions. 

"And, just as importantly as all that, I trust men and 
women more than that. I trust they are good, that they 
desire the best in all things for all others, that they seek 
the truth, that they are willing to cooperate for the good 
and for truth's sake. I trust my fellow man. And, to quote 
Tertullian, I am human. Nothing human is alien to me." 
There is some hand-clapping at this. 

"I ask of you, what sort of Churchmen would w.e be, if 
we were to hide the truth beneath the dead stones of our 
broken City of God — the City we built, the Christian 
world that is dead and gone? If we strike away the hands 
that are stretched out in willing cooperation? 

"But if we do not adopt the reactions and attitudes of 
My Lord Riccioni we have only one, I repeat, one, alter- 
native: Progressivist. We cannot stand pat. We cannot wait 
and delay and procrastinate. We cannot adopt a policy of 
slow change, of gradual adaptation. 

"It is an illusion to think we have a choice of slow 
change. With all respect for My Lords Masaccio and Ferro 
and their supporters, it is relatively easy — not too easy at 
all, really! — but relatively easier for them to counsel slow 
gradualness. But this in the wide world of Latin America 
and Africa and — yes! — in their beloved Europe and Italy 
and Rome itself, this is a counsel of acceptance, not of 
slow change at all, but of slow death by bleeding. 

"And in this matter, those who call themselves Radicals 
— My Lords Angelico, Lohngren, Witz, Yiu, and Domenico 
and all of them — I appeal to you: you and we are within 
touching distance of each other. Can we not join hands in 
a common effort?" He smiles at Angelico, then at Lohn- 
gren, his arms outstretched, his eyes speaking volumes of 
appeal and gentleness and forbearance. 

Angelico looks stolidly at him in response, and blinks a 
wan smile. Lohngren does not look up. Domenico is seated 

The Final Conclave 265 

with his arms folded against his chest as if protecting him- 
self from any assault of the speaker's kindness. 

"Today, this moment, in the sacred Assembly, there are 
some with us whose faces we cannot see, whose words we 
cannot hear, whose eyes we cannot read. These presences 
are nevertheless with us. They are the ones who came be- 
fore us, who had offered to them a chance to correct the 
ancient errors, and who failed to take that opportunity. 

"Not far from where I stand, Pope Leo 3 stood with 
Charlemagne in 800 a.d. on Christmas Day and decided 
that the Spirit of Christ needed the naked sword. He re- 
fused to rely on Christ alone, and chose to rely on the 
sword of men. And, you know, Jesus said it: 'They who 
live by the sword, shall perish by the sword.' And the 
world of Leo 3, the world he made possible by the Em- 
peror's sword, has perished. Hasn't it? 

"And not 400 yards from where we sit, in the Tower of 
San Angelo, Pope Clement 7 had a choice: to renounce all 
temporal power, to return to the simplicity of the Gospel, 
to care for the masses. He refused. 

"In the Apostolic Palace from which we have just come, 
in the Sistine Chapel where Conclaves were held for cen- 
turies before today, Pius 7 and Pius 9 walked and talked 
and planned. Either could have read the voice of history. 
Either could have opened up to the voices of millions. But, 
shame on us, on all of us, both fought to hold on to that 
ancient idea of the Christian world — even when it lay in 
ruins about them. 

"Once again, my Brothers! Once again, the good Lord, 
the sweet Lord Jesus, offers us the same opportunity! What 
a patient and all-powerful Lord we serve, Eminent Broth- 
ers! Once again, we have a powerful opportunity. The 
voices cry to us. Humanity appeals to us. Shall we this 
one more time — the last time, perhaps — refuse to join all 
men and seek that common good which surely was the pur- 
pose of all Christ's labors and the aim of his Church as 
servant of mankind, and is the aim of its Pope, Christ's 
Vicar, Peter's successor, as the servant of the servants of 
God and of mankind? 

"Let no one here be in any doubt. We in this Conclave 
are deciding on the life or the death of the institution of 
the Church of Jesus. 

"I leave to my Brothers who will speak later the further 
elaboration of what the life of the Church should be, and 


what sort of a Church it should become, once we — as those 
through whom the Holy Spirit of Jesus channels his senti- 
ments and his grace for all men — once we have chosen a 
successor of Peter, and have afforded him the sum total 
of our opinions and our hopes. 

"I thank you, my Eminent Brothers. May God bless 
us all in these vitally important days I" 

As Lynch moves back to his place, there is a little buzz 
of conversation. But Koi-Lo-Po's voice breaks in, benign 
and insistently official: "My Most Reverend Lord, Car- 
dinal Pericle Vasari!" 

As Vasari speaks, his words exude appeal and faith. 
"My Venerable Brothers, if we act in such a way as to de- 
stroy this Rome, this ancient Papal chancellery, this gran- 
deur, will we not be undoing God's own creation? Will 
we not be liquidating a manifestation of Christ's presence 
that all somehow or other feel, and which is one of the 
very signs of the Church's divinity? Think well, before you 
accept any opinion to the contrary." Vasari pauses and 
gazes with a meditative look at the Cardinals; when he 
speaks again, his voice trembles with feeling. 

"In Rome, we have an abiding presence — not a mere 
memory of a past presence. We have a resident strength — 
not a mere hope for, or a remembered promise of strength. 
Outsiders sense the presence, and the strength. Beneath 
the hooded domes of our basilicas, flitting across the ancient 
ruins and weathered monuments of our Rome, high above 
the pillared altar roods, echoing in the triumphal trumpet 
notes of a High Mass in St. Peter's, brooding around the 
white robed figure of the Pope, there is, outsiders sense — 
and they are correct in their instinct — some dynamic 
presence, some covert strength. But there is no way for 
them to understand the substance of that presence — no 
way but by faith. It is an intra-Roman Catholic — it is our 
—possession. We Catholics!'* 

He turns and looks up to the ceiling for inspiration. His 
voice loses the tremolo and resounds with a strong note of 
confidence. "And this presence, my Brothers, this presence 
is Jesus — " He gestures upward as if to Heaven. "Not 
Jesus merely as the one who, as one modern writer put it, 
in his own person once afforded Western mankind the 
only completely convincing example it has ever had of 

The Final Conclave 267 

the active love of goodness as the inspiring principle of all 
human actions — although that, Eminent Brothers, Jesus 
did certainly do for all mankind. 

"But, limited to that view, Jesus and his actions are 
taken as irrevocably past. As just another historical model. 

"The presence of Jesus with our Rome is of every today 
and for every tomorrow, just as it was during all Rome's 
yesterdays." His eyes are flowing as he lifts them to look 
over the Cardinals' heads. "No, Venerable Brothers! Think 
well before you lay a hand to dispel the sanctuary of that 
presence 1 

"And now, some among us want to dispel the house in 
which that presence exists I Think well!" He looks around 
appealingly, "Think well, my Venerable Brothers. Think 
well before you lay a hand to dispel the sanctuary of that 
presence!" He draws a hand across his eyes and is silent 
for a moment. 

Then he brightens up. "And have you noticed? There is 
a growing feeling among non-Catholics that the Pope 
and his Vatican and all that he signifies represent some- 
thing capital for Christianity in a way that no other 
Christian leader does. Have you noticed? When Pope Paul 
6 traveled in that all-white plane to five continents, more 
than one non-Catholic remarked, as he watched it wing- 
ing its way through the skies, 'there goes the principal 
representative of Jesus on earth, even though I don't agree 
with his teachings and do not profess adhesion to his 
Church.' There is, simply, a growing affection and appre- 
ciation for what the Papacy signifies. What happens to 
and in Rome now matters to a majority of non-Catholics 
and non-Christians. Surely you are not going to lay a hand 
on the home of that presencel 

"Of course, some of our Roman claims may leave out- 
siders cold," — the tone is now matter-of-fact and with a 
small edge of semi- triumph — "but what they take as the 
very preposterousness of our claims rings a bell in their 
memory, the sound of some impossible dream centering 
around a fantastic idea: not that there is a simple chair- 
man of the board, a viceroy of some absent ruler, or an 
emissary of a distant god. But that there is one whose 
ecclesial person ensures the presence of the great mystery 
of God and of Jesus — in sum, the man who is the per- 
sonal representative of Jesus, of the only religious leader 
in human history who claimed to be God and whom his 


followers claim to be alive and personally represented here 
today in Rome. 

"I can see My Lord Lynch and My Lord Buff bridling 
— just as I have seen many outsiders bridling. " This is said 
humorously and with a gentle reproaching voice. No one 
can take offense. Buff squiggles on his seat and coughs to 
himself. Thule lifts his eyes to Heaven in a deprecating 
gesture, then gulps for air. 

"But it is true. The mere proposition of such a dream 
arouses some primal emotion and passion that is not 
pinioned by the limits of thought or reason. Under the 
first impact of that passion, and before outsiders get a hold 
of themselves, they sense that nearby a window has been 
opened on to a beauty always hoped for, but never seen by 
mortal eyes; and that they are listening for a wisdom far 
beyond the brain and mind of man. The wisdom of peace 
and final rapture echoing softly in tones of the ineffable 
authority and in that irresistible lovingness that men have 
always dreamed belonged to God, and to God's unique 
triumph over time, and over death, and over pain, and 
over all finite things." 

He turns to the Presidents: "I thank you, My Lord Car- 
dinals, for the indulgence of your time, and I thank all of 
you, my Colleagues. You will forgive me if I say that it is 
with sorrow I acknowledge that the proposition of My 
Lord Lynch would eviscerate this Rome, this sacred home 
of Jesus' presence. And in the coming speeches I am sure 
you will hear a concept of Papacy which is in reality a 
sharp knife placed on the jugular vein of Christianity, as 
Peter knew it, as Pius 12 knew it, as beloved John 23 
knew it. 

"Let us not be failing in our charity for our Colleagues. 
But neither let us be deceived by the neo-intellectualism 
which masks all that many progressive-minded Cardinal 
Electors propose. For with such words and concepts, the 
grace of our Lord Jesus does not reside." 

With this clenched-fist blow placed firmly and quietly on 
Lynch 's jaw and Thule's jaw, Vasari bows, smiles around 
sunnily, and goes to his place. There are several seconds 
of hand-clapping and a few cries of "Bravol" 

Kai-Lo-Po waits for a while, for quiet, then clears his 
throat: "My Most Reverend Lord Buff!" 

The Final Conclave 269 

Buff takes his time for the customary prayer at the Altar, 
and when he turns to face the Cardinals, his expression is 
a trifle stiff perhaps, but apparently confident. Like all 
Anglo-Saxons speaking in public, he gives a first im- 
pression of reciting a lesson. But as he warms to his sub- 
ject, he becomes more relaxed. 

'There is a point in the life of an institution as in the 
life of an individual, when its past is so much with it — 
and so grievously with it— that nothing will soothe the 
deep ache, nothing will ease that dreadful destructive bore- 
dom of this 'bemg-too-much-for-onesehV as Goethe once 
remarked, nothing will give relief but a total break with 
all that it has become." Buff pauses and looks around in 
order to create a special silence for what follows. Then: 
"For Rome that moment is now here." There is some 
hand-clapping. "In fact, many would say that it has been 
here for quite a long time." 

More applause. But now some Cardinals are making re- 
marks out loud. "We don't need to be told all this." "Solu- 
tions, please." "Solutions!" "No carping, please!" Buff re- 
mains calm, testing the atmosphere as he looks around. 

"I say again, the point for total break is nowl To admit 
this is to admit the truth. It is to face up to a brute fact. 
This bureaucracy which is the Vatican. This pomp that is 
Papal. Even this august assembly — we, all of us here — we 
are here, not as servants of God, not as humble imitators 
of Jesus washing the feet of the lowliest disciples, but as 
grand hierarchs, Princes if you please, Princes of a Church 
professedly the Church of Nazareth's Carpenter and of 
Calvary's bleeding victim, the most despised and con- 
demned of men!" 

Objections now are coming from all quarters, drowning 
the applause, the "Ita's" Riccioni is on his feet. 'This 
ancient and venerable College of Cardinals has been an 
object of awe and genuine reverence for our direst enemies 
even. . . ." 

"Our direst enemies, eh?" Buff cuts Riccioni off before 
he can finish the sentence. Riccioni is not accustomed to 
being interrupted. Before he can take up again, Buff goes 
on. "I remember reading in a life of John Milton, the 
British poet, that during his stay in Rome he used to at- 
tend the theatrical productions of the Barberini Pope in 
the Barberini Palace — as all the Romans did and the 
Cardinals did in their finery and with their retinues and 


servants and hangers-on. And it was the sight of all those 
Roman Cardinals — their glorious ermine and scarlet robes, 
their pride, their lordliness, their contemptuous glances, 
their behavior as a caste of people above all other mortals, 
the whole gathering of their presence — that gave Milton 
the imagery for that part of his poem Paradise Lost in 
which he describes the meeting of Pandemonium — the 
Conclave of all the Demons and Devils and False Gods. 
Remember? Remember, My Lord Tobey?" 

Tobey is delighted. He half rises and nods vigorously as 
if to reinforce everything Milton implied about the Roman 
Cardinals and their Conclave. Tobey is in full sympathy 
with everything that the Cardinal is saying — but for rea- 
sons very different from those of the Cardinal. 

"How in the name of sweet Jesus" — Buff is almost 
pleading now — "how did we come to that point of appar- 
ent ungodliness? We have to ask howl" 

"I wish, Most Eminent President, and my Reverend Col- 
leagues," Vasari is on his feet quietly but swiftly, his face 
tense with what some take as anger, others as embarrass- 
ment, "I wish to protest with as firm and charitable a 
voice as possible the slur being cast on the venerable and 
sacred office of Cardinal. Not because I, unworthy one, 
have been chosen by God for it. But because it does in 
no way help our deliberations. I protest, My Lord Car- 
dinal." He sits down, glaring at Buff. 

Buff continues with barely a pause or change of tone. 
But Vasari is too powerful to ignore, and Buff's words 
show that. "Nor do I wish to cast any slur on any living 
person or on this sacred office. I, too, am unworthy of it." 
He meets Vasari's angry stare. "The point I am making, or 
trying to make, as clearly as I can, is simply this: The 
mentality of our non-Catholic brethren has been con- 
ditioned by what Cardinals have been and what Cardinals 
have done — not by what Cardinals thought and think 
about themselves and their sacred office." Applause and 
objections threaten to drown Buff out altogether. 

"Hear me out, Reverend Colleagues! Hear me out! For 
we will never decide wisely how to approach our separated 
brethren, unless we remember things they remember. ..." 
"Don't they remember Cardinal Mindszenty, Cardinal 
Stepinac, Cardinal Slipyi? Why do you say they only re- 
member the ill and not the good?" It is Vasari again, 
anger and annoyance undisguised now. 

The Final Conclave 111 

"Of course. But that is the way with humans. One of 
the best and most famous of poets, and a truly wise man, 
said it better than I could ever put it: The evil men do 
lives after them.' And so it is with the idea of Roman Car- 

Vasari, still standing, interrupts again, but Riccioni 
drowns out both of them as he rises in explosive impa- 
tience. "I think, My Lord Cardinal Buff, that you suffer 
from a strange fantasy that all non-Catholics spend all 
their time gloating over our past mistakes. Couldn't Your 
Eminence discuss what our Protestant brethren know 
rather than what Your Eminence knows so well?" 

"Aye, Most Eminent Cardinal! Indeed I can." Buff bull- 
dozes through the opening Riccioni has mistakenly given 
him. "Our separated brethren know about Cardinal Ri- 
chelieu — his cruel statecraft, his indifference to human 
pain. They know about Cardinal Caesar Borgia — the incest, 
his murder of his father's favorite on his father's very lap. 
They know about Cardinal Robert of Geneva, a famous 
pikeman in his own right, massacring the whole town of 
Cesena — six thousand men, women, and children — at the 
head of his Breton pikeman brigade. 

"Surely," Buff continues, "many Popes were busy about 
the Lord's work. But others — the ones the world remem- 
bers — led armies, commanded fleets, rode into battle, 
hoarded money for their families, used the power of office 
to arrange their nieces' and their nephews' careers. They 
died holily. And they died unholily. In other words, my 
Venerable Brothers, this holy office of Vicar of Jesus, 
and this sacred order of Cardinal bureaucrats and clergy 
has merited real reproaches. Neither the occupant of 
Peter's chair nor my Lord Cardinals — to which group I 
belong and am proud to belong — can look at the world, 
at our separated brethren in particular, as if we had no 
heritage of guilt. 

"We scandalized them all. We persecuted many. We 
plotted against their lives and their political liberties. We 
massacred their populations. We supervised their tortur- 
ing. We pillaged their countries and cities. We punished 
like any devil of a dictator or any godless Roman pagan. 
It is this I want to bring out — not for its own sake, but as 
an explanation of what our non-Catholic brothers think of 
us, and — this is crucial — as a conditioner of our behavior 


in turning to them and sincerely seeking union with them 
in Christ Jesus." 

"Your Eminence would have us apologize, I supposel" 
Riccioni pursues the duel. 

"Yes, I would! We owe an apology. Not an explanation* 
but a grieving expression of our regret " 

"Churchmen," Riccioni interrupts, "have certainly been 
guilty. All of us are sorry for . . ." 

"Yes. Also for some of our Popes. Our separated broth- 
ers cannot really accept us unless we acknowledge how 
far away from the behavior of Jesus' representatives many 
of our Popes were " 

Riccioni and Vasari and a dozen Cardinals rise, all ob- 
jecting. And the words of some can be understood in the 
din of voices. 

At this point the President intervenes. "My Lord Car- 
dinalsl There is no one of us who does not regret past 
mistakes. Now, if Your Eminences will allow the Most 
Eminent Cardinal to continue, His Eminence will move on 
to his next point." 

"I thank you, My Lord Cardinal President What we 
need to remind ourselves of is that, if we are in disrepute, 
if men do not accept our message, if they suspect us of 
double-dealing, if they consider us to be instruments of 
evil, if they refuse to admit our claim to be the collabora- 
tors of the Vicar of Jesus, the successor of Peter, if they 
deride our Conclave, and its change of Pope — whoever he 
be — know that they have good reason to be fearful and 
suspicious, and even derogatory." 

"What about the Popes and Cardinals who were saints 
and martyrs? Why don't you mention them?" Vasari is 
on his feet again. 

"Surely, there were saints among them. And martyrs. 
But there were also debauchees and cruel men and avari- 
cious men. Some directed their actions by astrology. Some 
bought their way into the Papacy. Others killed for it." 

Bronzino rises to a point of order. "I would remind His 
Eminence that the Borgias are no longer with us. What 
practical issue is His Eminence discussing?" 

"So practical an issue, my dear Brother, that Pope Paul 6 
in his new rules of 1976 had to lay down a rule that, 
even if someone bought his way into the Papacy, he had 
to be accepted as Pope — once the election was valid. Think 

The Final Conclave 273 

on what would make a Pope in the late twentieth century 
lay down such a rule! Think! Venerable Brother!" 

Cardinal Walker has caught the President's eye. He 
rises to speak. "Your Eminences. For fear that anyone here 
does not balance the picture, I wish to remind you all that 
those we opposed in the past were, a lot of them, disgrace- 
ful in their lives. Luther himself was a debauchee. Even 
in his last published work, he displayed a filthy mind." 

"Oh, yes, I know. I know that Martin Luther was a 
debauchee," Buff breaks in, "and I have read his last 
pamphlet. The language is utterly disgraceful, and the 
mind he shows is that of a very lecherous, vulgar, anally 
and genitally preoccupied man, whose own bodily func- 
tions seem to dominate his fundamental ideas of God, of 
man, of moral behavior. I pray for Luther every day of 
my life because, although he did wrong, I think that from 
the very start he was a very sick, very sick individual. . . ." 

"And you wish to speak of this syphilitic apostate in 
the same breath with Popes and Cardinals of the Holy 
Roman Church?" Walker is contemptuously calm in his 

Buff looks at Walker, purses his lips, then says icily, 
"And about the one man in the whole history of the writ- 
ten word to whom a book on syphilis was dedicated by its 
author because, as the author wrote in the book, that man 
displayed in his august person the hope of cure from that 
awful disease. That person was a Cardinal of the Holy 
Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. Did my Eminent 
Brother know that?" 

Now Domenico has stood up. "Will His Eminence please 
tell us why he has singled out us Cardinals for this abuse?" 
He sits down; a reproach from Domenico is a bad mark. 
Buff is chastened. 

"My Brothers, please understand me. If I seem to re- 
proach you — and myself. If I seem to cast ugly aspersion 
on our grade and on our sacred office of Cardinal. It is 
not from contempt. Only concern that we see ourselves as 
many, very many, of our adversaries and, also, very many 
men and women of good will who are otherwise attracted 
to the Church see us." 

Now there is quiet attention among the Cardinals. Buff 
presses his point home. "How many of us see ourselves, 
see the entire Papacy and Vatican as those men and wom- 
en see us? Think for a moment of a devout Anglican 


worshipper in Durham Cathedral, an enthusiastic Baptist 
singing in his chapel in Atlanta, Georgia, a pious Lutheran 
in Stuttgart, Germany. Believe me, my Venerable Broth- 
ers, believe me full of love and fidelity when I tell you that 
on their lips you will find the words that their first ances- 
tors hurled at Rome. You remember Hiitten's words to the 
army of German Landsknechts, Imperial Spanish troops, 
and rebellious Italian Papal serfs, as they all surrounded 
the Rome of Clement 7 in 1527: 'Rise up! Reclaim the 
rights of the German Empire. End the temporal power of 
priesthood I ' 

"And when they sacked Rome and entered the Castle of 
San Angelo where Clement and his Cardinals had taken 
refuge, what did they find? They found the Cardinals and 
Clement weeping for the loss of their wealth and their 
power! It was Bishop Stafileo who gave the true reason 
for the sack and destruction of Rome and the sacrileges 
that the Spaniards and Germans committed here. He said at 
the reassembled Roman Rota on May 3, 1528 . . /' Buff 
is reading from his notes: *' *What destroyed Rome? It was 
because all flesh has become corrupt. Because we are 
not citizens of the Holy City of Rome, but of Babylon, 
the city of corruption, full of sodomy, simony, idolatry, 
hypocrisy, pride, fraud/ My Brothers, the present-day Car- 
dinal Prefect of that Sacred Rota will testify to the ac- 
curacy of these statements. And the point is, my Colleagues, 
we have a past that should determine to some degree our 
judgment on our separated brothers today. Is not that just 
and moderate as a judgment?" 

"There is no point in allowing the Church to be dimin- 
ished in her strength for the sake of the individual and 
the mistakes of the individual. Our faith demands all 
sacrifices for the sake of the Church's good standing!" 
Vasari is angry. 

"Sometimes, listening to remarks of this kind," Buff says 
patiently, "I am reminded of what Savonarola said about 
the Church of Rome in his day: 'If the Roman Church 
were to lose 10,000 ducats of her revenues, excommunica- 
tions would be hurled, swords drawn, and all Christians 
called upon for aid. If 100,000 souls are brought to ruin, 
the Chief Shepherd merely listens to th.Q counsels of those 
intent on destroying Catholicity/ But they burnt Savo- 
narola. So I will desist from quoting the fiery monk any 
more." Buff smiles, and there is some scattered applause. 

The Final Conclave 275 

"Come now, Brother, your purpose is not to make us 
laugh at ourselves — nice and all though that may be." It 
is Thule now trying to help Buff get back on the rails and 
make his main point. 

"No, my Venerable Brother! But it does enable me to 
reach the conclusion which is the overall attitude I think 
we should have in this matter of ecumenism. We must 
make no mistake about it: The higher echelons and inner 
circles of our Roman bureaucracy carry, as an unmistak- 
able trait, a certain mystery that shrouds them in awe- 

"For the lay mind, as for many clerical ones, there is 
something frightening about a group of men like us: 
celibates all; obedient as one man to invisible voices; men 
of inviolable dignity even when others find us ridiculous; co- 
ordinated in group reverence; accoutered as for sacrosanct 
worship; driven by interests as wide as our world is and 
as diverse as foreign exchange deals involving rubles, dol- 
lars, yen or the size of Communion wafers to be used in 
Ruanda, or the collateral to be raised on a Watergate 
apartment house; versed in cold rationality, yet undeniably 
exercising what others consider an irrational hold on the 
hearts and lives of literally millions. 

"We appear occasionally in public amid the ermine and 
magenta and cloth-of-gold of ceremonies performed grave- 
ly according to milleniar rules and cozened in the stately 
and soaring folds of Gregorian Chant. Yet all the while 
we are guarded from the curiosity of outside prying eyes 
by the most rigid rule of secrecy — a rule that is bolstered 
within our ranks by the direst spiritual penalties, and on 
the outside with punitive capabilities that no man in his 
right mind will incur. 

"Now tell me, has the simplicity of Jesus come to this? 
In us, his claimant representatives? No doubt about it, my 
Venerable Brothers. Think back — each one of you — think 
back to the time when we were, each one, simple priests, 
as yet quite outside and far below this hierarchic body, this 
inner sanctum of Roman power. Think! And remember! 
For I remember clearly my first impression of the 'higher- 
ups/ the local hierarchy and the Roman authorities. What 
mystery! What fearfulness! What dire overtones even a 
passing contact with them produced in me — and I am 
sure in each of you. Wasn't it that which attracted us — in 
part, anyhow? 


"For their conversation always seemed to echo a back- 
ground and mentality more mysterious and Machiavellian 
than I had ever known or would easily probe. And, even 
if I discovered, or thought to discover, the diabolic smile 
behind the patient smile of a Cardinal, or if I sensed a 
confident cunning beneath the velvet smoothness of Vat- 
ican diplomatic language and relaxed address, or if I ex- 
perienced a certain lack of mercy, a ruthlessness in Roman 
Ministries — with no human touch — even all this did not 
dispel my sense of their secret power. 

"What was transacted within those privileged circles of 
Cardinals and Vatican Ministries and Papal Officials some- 
times seemed to be the human reflection of the super- 
human, yes, the cosmic struggle between the fallen Arch- 
angel, Lucifer, and Jesus. It almost seemed, in other words, 
to be the Christian version of Semitic Job's drama, in 
which Jesus turns directly on the Archangel Lucifer as one 
he knows personally and full well, and Lucifer speaks 
back to God as a working part of God's own universe." 
Suddenly Buff is interrupted. The Camerlengo has risen. 
"What on earth is His Eminence trying to do or say 
or ask?" he protests, exaggerated weariness in his voice. 
There is a stir of surprise at this open-handed slap at Buff. 
"My question, Your Eminence, is one we are all asking 
in some way: How has the Church come to this point? 
And we are all asking further: If it has come to this 
point, is it not time for that break we are thinking of but 
will not mention here? Isn't the dead burden of that Rome 
of the Caesar Popes far too much for the Popes of Jesus 
to bear? 

"And I do not intend to answer these poignant ques- 
tions, my Brothers. I do not intend to. Because every one 
of us here knows the answer. 

"What I do ask you is this — and it is the central ques- 
tion confronting us in this Conclave. Are we going will- 
ingly and deliberately to break with this load of our past? 
Break with it in such a way that no American Baptist can 
again speak of the Pope as 'that foreign Ruler/ no Ger- 
man Lutheran can think of Rome as 'the Red Lady of 
the Mediterranean/ no pious Protestant can find the mys- 
teries of demonic power intertwined with the mysteries of 
Jesus in our Roman basilicas and our Vatican offices, no 
Marxist can conclude that in championing the Sacrifice of 
Jesus and the exclusive right to dispense his love, we are 

The Final Conclave 277 

marketing something that will maintain the level of our 
portfolio returns and guarantee us the necessary collateral 
for new investments in real estate. 

"Are we? Are we going to do that?" 

Ending on the tip of that sharp question, Buff gives a 
look of gratitude to the Presidents' table and goes to his 
place. In his own way, Buff has thrown a disturbing 
thought at his colleagues: Has the Papacy indeed amassed 
such a reputation that it is now itself a real obstacle to 
faith in the Church? Is Lynch correct? And is the Papacy 
dead with that old Christian world? 

Already, as Buff reaches his place, Koi-Lo-Po is calling out 
— evidently with some personal pleasure, for he has a 
large smile as he speaks: "My Most Reverend Lord, Car- 
dinal Henry Walker!" 

Adlai Stevenson, who once had accepted a Coca-Cola 
from Walker, told one of his aides later that "even the 
bottle seemed to mean something special when he gave it 
to you." Walker has a way of investing the littlest action 
with ponderous significance. So now as he ambles pain- 
fully to the Altar, some papers in his hand, and then turns 
around to speak, all seems fraught with meaning. Earlier 
in his life this man was the best educated Roman Catholic 
Bishop in his own country to have come on the scene in 
the past hundred years, and probably the finest public 
speaker of his generation. Fluent in three European lan- 
guages, deeply read in theology and literature, a formidable 
antagonist in an argument, Walker was almost bound to 
end up in Rome. He was of the stuff whereof men of 
power are made. At a certain moment his reputation as a 
gourmet was excessively commented upon and other traits 
were falsely ascribed to him. 

"Most Eminent President, I have been delegated to 
speak for a large group of most Reverend Cardinal Elec- 
tors and in addition for many Cardinals who are not 
present here, and for many learned and pious bishops 
throughout the Church. And what I have to say will tell 
you much about those who have new things to propose to 
us. About the men who have stood here and offered to us 
their flowery plans that they compare with the thorns of 
our past deeds." A glaze of anger burns in Walker's eyes. 
"Our message to the Electors of this august Conclave is 


sharp and clear: The will of the majority of Bishops who 
participated in the Ecumenical Council during the sixties 
has been twisted. Their good faith has been betrayed." 
There is a general muttering among the Cardinals. Walker 
appears to be out for blood with guns loaded. 

"The assent of the Council of Bishops has been used — 
I should say prostituted — for purposes that contradict their 
original intention. . . ." 

Walker is stopped by a cry from among the Cardinals- 
nobody seems to know whose voice it is — "No lectures in 
moral behavior, please, Reverendl" 

Walker returns the barb. "Oh, don't worry, my Most 
Eminent Fathers and friends. I know to what you refer. I 
know what I am guilty of. I know, better than any of you. 
But, I believe in the grace of our Lord Jesus. I believe that 
it cleanses, that it makes the soul come alive again, that it 
quickens the spirit. And I believe that the Lord Jesus 
listens to the penitent, and that He punishes those who 
decry the sins already repented. . . ." 

Another interruption. "Shame! Shame!" 

"Imitate Your Eminence's Heavenly Father!" Walker 
shoots back, glaring in the general direction of the cry. 

The Cardinal President intervenes, reminding the Elec- 
tors of the decorum and mutual respect they must ob- 

"I thank you, Most Eminent Cardinal President, I thank 
you." Walker then turns back to the Electors. "I would 
not have you in any doubt as to what has happened, my 
Brothers, with the will of our Ecumenical Council — espe- 
cially in view of the speeches we have listened to this 

"I can speak firsthand because I participated in the 
Council. True, my own ambitions were then closely iden- 
tified with the stances I took. I think, under God, that the 
accumulation of years and the bodily miseries the Lord 
has sent me since then, together with the years I have 
spent in this sacred City and my functions near the Holy 
Father — all this has sharply denned in my own memory 
all that happened." He glances toward the place from 
where those derogatory cries came a little time ago. "Any- 
way, Brothers, be sure of one thing. I have no personal 
axe to grind in this Conclave. 

"It would be ridiculous and ineffectual of me to review 
the entire Council here and now. But let me give you one 

The Final Conclave 279 

typical example, In order to substantiate my statement that 
there has been trickery and treachery and — worse than all 
that — betrayal of our duty to preserve and hand on the 
sacred traditions of the Church Apostolic." Walker is 
already breathing heavily. He wipes his face with a large 
white handkerchief. 

"Everyone here is familiar with the document known as 
the CSL, the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, Let me 
take a few small points about that CSL " He replaces his 
handkerchief in his left sleeve, "Anyone who participated 
in the Council as I did— every session of it — as Terebelski 
did, as Riccioni did, as we all did, we old-timers 1" Mur- 
murs of u ltal" come from about a dozen throats. "All of 
us knew — the 1,922 Bishops participating in the vote — 
that the Canon of the Mass (the central portion of the 
Roman Catholic Mass) was, according to the will of th& 
vast majority of those 1,922 Bishops, always to be said 
and to remain in Latin — " He breaks off with an incredu- 
lous look, to emphasize his words. The drama of the pause 
brings full attention. He has chosen a point that has caused 
pain and strife and near schism. 

His own voice breaks the silence, "Knew it? Did I say 
'the Bishops knew it'? Let me be precise, Brothers. The 
Bishops did more. They stated so! They legislated sol Let 
me quote to you; In Article 36 of that CSL, they said, 

A particular law remains in force: the use of the 
Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin Rites* 

"These were our very words," and he brandishes a 
paper in his hand as though offering it to all present to 
read it for themselves. "Note that we Bishops commanded 
it. We used the imperative form: servetur* We did not 
advise. We did not recommend. We did not make a bland 
statement. We commandedl This was our will. The will of 
the Council. The Ecumenical Council. The Canon of the 
Mass was never to be said in any language but in Latin, 

"Now, you all know that we Bishops of the Council 
made a distinction between the presidential parts of the 
Mass— those that concern the priest as priest, as surrogate 
for Jesus — and the popular parts — those parts of the Mass 
which directly involve the people, such as the Gospel, 
the Epistle, the prayers for public well-being, and so on. 
And we laid down in that same Article 36, paragraph 3 


of the CSL, that the competent authorities were to decide 
whether — note the word 'whether' — the vernacular lan- 
guage was to be used even jn the popular parts. In other 
words, as far as we Bishops were concerned, the vernacular 
need never be used in the popular parts and must never 
be used in the presidential parts. 

"I repeat yet again, we were 1,922 Bishops who voted 
on those very words. It could not- have been more clear. 

"Now, what actually happened to our Mass? To our 
Latin Canon? And, I might add, to Mass attendance?" 
Walker's face reflects pure disgust. "Well, today, there are 
at least nine different vernacular Canons. There is no 
official Latin Canon of the Mass at all! That's what hap- 

"But how? How could something so completely op- 
posed to the will of the Council come about — and above 
all how could it come about in the name of the Council? 

"I remember in 1965 just after the Council was finished, 
that monster which was created by trickery and plot — I 
refer to the post-Council Commission set up to implement 
our will, the will of the Bishops — that monster of a Com- 
mission was asked by about fifteen different national 
hierarchies and bishops from Europe, Asia, Africa, and 
America, about the Canon, the Latin Canon. What an- 
swer do you think the Commission gave them? Think a 
moment. I should leave it to your imagination, Reverend 
Fathers." Walker grins wryly. "But if I did, it would 
probably be twisted by the enemies of the Mass. The an- 
swer that the Commission consistently gave was: 'Per- 
mission for dropping Latin and translating the Canon into 
the various vernacular languages will never be given.' This, 
if you please, was what we were told. So we all went home 

Cardinal Thule is on his feet on a point of order. "Can 
the Eminent Cardinal substantiate these statements?" 
Thule's agitation is obvious. 

"I have it here in a letter embossed with the Com- 
mission's coat of arms and Roman address; it is dated 
December 22, 1965 " 

"The Electors cannot see the letter, Reverend Broth- 
er. . . ." 

"I have it in my hand!" Walker booms, peevishly wav- 
ing a sheet of paper, "and you and the others may have 
twenty copies at my expense, if you wish " 

The Final Conclave 281 

"Yes, but who signed that letter, Eminent Brother? 
Perhaps it came from some lower echelon office of the 
Commission who . . ." 

"It is signed," Walker rasps, "by the Archbishop then 
at the head of the Commission." He looks up and gazes 
at the Electors with an expression of disgust. The silence 
among the Cardinals is deathly. That Archbishop was the 
man whom Paul was forced to fixe from the Commission 
on the Liturgy. The reasons were very grave. "And more 
about the Archbishop shortly." 

Walker tackles his main subject again. "How did it 
happen then, my Brothers, that the express will of the 
majority of Bishops was directly contradicted and contra- 

Thule is on his feet again. "I think it is quite clear that 
the members of the Commission consulted the Bishops 
after the Council was finished, and that they merely formu- 
lated a general wish of . . ," 

"It happened, my dear and Venerable Brother," Walk- 
er's booming voice drowns out Thule's, "because it was 
decided in camera between half a dozen individual Bishops, 
three Cardinals — of whom my Venerable Brother was one, 
by the way — and a select group of theologians, the peritu 
Do you all remember the periti at the Council? Do you?'* 
Walker is looking around at them all now, like an old lion, 
shaking his head and glaring at every pair of eyes. "Do 

Bun is on his feet: "I would like to remind my Col- 
leagues that the periti were picked by individual Bishops 
for their skill in tradition and in theological knowledge. 
And besides ..." 

"We have no need for a lesson from His Eminence on 
the meaning of the word 'peritu* " Walker's sarcasm is as 
commanding as his anger. "Periti." He mouths the word 
as if it had a strange sound and a still stranger meaning. 
"Of coursel One versed in something or other. In this case, 
in theology. We Council Bishops all had our periti. But 
the periti at this in camera meeting were more than mere 
advisors on theology. By the way, I should say meetings — ■ 
but there was one particularly fateful meeting about which 
my Eminent Brother knows more than any of us." He 
looks again at Thule. 

Thule had held a special meeting with the most pro- 
gressive periti at the Council; and between them it was 


decided that they should seek to plant doctrinal "time 
bombs' 1 within the text of the Council's documents which 
the Bishop would approve. A time bomb in this sense was a 
sentence susceptible of more than one interpretation. For 
the Bishops, such a sentence would have one meaning. 
But later, as happened actually, the Commission would 
give another and sometimes totally different meaning to 
the seemingly innocuous phrase. 

Walker has caused consternation in the Conclave. At 
least four or five Cardinals, mainly from Latin America, 
are on their feet trying to get permission to intervene. 
One, Marquez, succeeds. "Our Brother, Cardinal Walker, 
will have to be sure to have proof of this grave accusa- 

"It's all here, my Most Eminent Brother, it's all here." 
Walker holds up still another sheaf of papers. He is smil- 
ing, but not pleasingly. "These cost me much work. Let 
me see now/' he flicks over a few pages. "Ah yes!" A 
pause as he reads the names of the most controversial and 
modernist of the Vatican Council peritu 

"Is our Eminent Brother saying," Marquez insists on 
pushing Walker all the way, "that there was a sort of 
agreement between these men and others yet unnamed?" 

"Yes. I am!" Even though everyone present had by 
now understood the meaning of what Walker was saying, 
his final affirmation that there had been nothing less than 
a plot to suborn the will of the Council is still a bombshell. 
The President cannot bring the Cardinals to order. Walker 
has nearly to shout in order to be heard. "I am saying 
precisely that, Reverend Brother. There was a cohesive, 
predetermined plan established by a small handful of 
Bishops and per id, a plan which we know now in detail, 
a plan which has been followed meticulously." 

"We must know, Eminent Brothers," Thule is glaring 
defiance, "we must know, what are the details of this — 
plot, this plan." 

"Very well! First: Place the time bombs, those ambigu- 
ous statements, in Council documents. In our official CSL, 
for example, a statement as in Article 21 which says: The 
Liturgy is made of unchangeable elements divinely insti- 
tuted, and elements subject to change/ Or, in Article 33: 
'Although the sacred Liturgy is above all else the worship 
of the Divine Majesty, it likewise contains abundant in- 
struction for the faithful,' Or, in Article 38: The revision 

The Find Conclave 283 

of liturgical books should allow for legitimate variations 
and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, 
especially in mission lands.' 

"Now, Fathers, all such statements were understood by 
us Bishops in one sense, a conservative, traditionalist 
sense. Step number one was to get such statements into 
the official documents. 

"Second step: Pack the post-Council Commission, set 
up for the implementation of our decisions, with people 
who would explode the time bombs. The general secretary 
of the post-Council Commission was Bugnini, Hannibal 

"Step three: In the name of the Council — now dis- 
banded and scattered to the four winds — send out a series 
of decrees, ordering changes. And coordinate these new 
and revolutionary decrees with the unofficial and unilateral 
changes started by complaisant and plotting Bishops and 
periti and priests in various dioceses of the Church. . . ." 

"I say again, I hope the Eminent Cardinal can substan- 
tiate all this by documents, proven and authenticated." It 
is Thule. And he is clearly agitated. 

"Your Eminence has a copy of every document I hold 
in my hands, and of every letter between His Eminence 
and the periti and the Archbishop in charge of the Com- 
mission and . . ," Cardinal Thule rises to interrupt Walker 
again, but this time the President intervenes: "Please allow 
the Cardinal to continue." Walker glares around and then 
goes on. 

"Step four: Translate the Canon of the Mass into the 
vernacular everywhere. And forbid, I repeat, forbid the 
Latin everywhere. And translate all liturgical books into 
the vernacular. 

"Step five: Adapt the Liturgy of the Mass to eack 
and every region and locality and language, so that there 
is no longer any uniformity throughout the world. And 
adapt it so that everywhere it is not regarded as a partic- 
ipation in the Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. Instead, it is 
thought of as a communal meal of fellowship with empha- 
sis on the Bible, particularly on the Old Testament, and 
on social problems. And let the laity, not the priest, have 
the principal functions. The priest should be merely a 
master of ceremonies." 

"What on earth has all this to do with the grave deci- 


sion we have in hand?" It is Thule now taking a different 
tack to derail Walker's argument. 

"My Brothers," Walker appeals almost with a groan, 
"why indeed do I tell you all this? Merely and simply to 
tell you that the will of the Council has been prostituted — 
and with it the entire act of your Catholic Faith, the 
Sacrifice of the Holy Mass. And to tell you that we should 
not, at this most crucial time, put our trust in the proposi- 
tions of those who were implicated in such monumental 
deceit and corruption." 

"But how can the Cardinal neglect to mention the re- 
newal which has followed the Council?" 

Thule is not ready for the storm that breaks around his 
head. "Renewal?" Walker shouts the word. "Renewal?" 
He rounds on Thule with a thunder of words. "Let me tell 
you what your renewal has meant. Let's take a few, cold, 
hard facts." He looks quickly through some of the papers 
on his table. 

"Renewal should mean, principally, a greater zeal for 
the Mass, eh? A greater attendance at the Mass, eh? And 
more interest in the Sacraments, eh? And an increasingly 
influential function of the priest, eh? Greater, or at least, 
sustained conversions to the Church, eh? After all, these 
are the signs of renewal. How else can you speak of re- 
newal if not in such terms? 

"Well, look at the facts since 1965, when this cursed 
renewal, this so-called liturgical reform was initiated by 
our friends. Mass attendance since 1965 has declined. 
Enormously! England and Wales by 16 percent. France 
by 66 percent. Italy by 50 percent. U.S.A. by 30 percent. 
Renewal, eh? 

"And priestly vocations. Again, decline. England and 
Wales by 25 percent, France by 47 percent, Holland by 
97 percent. Holland! The showcase Church — where all 
seminaries have been closed since 19701 Italy by 45 per- 
cent. U.S.A. by 64 percent. Renewal! 

"And Baptisms. Again decline! England and Wales by 
59 percent, U.S.A. by 49 percent. 

"Nuns? A decline of 24.6 percent throughout the 
Church. Since 1965, 35,000 nuns have left the convent. 
And 14,000 priests abandoned their priesthood. 

"Renewal? Need I go on? And these are just random 
readings. Any of my Eminent Colleagues can have a copy 

The Final Conclave 285 

of these documents." He throws the papers on the Presi- 
dents' table. 

Then he turns to look at Thule and Buff. "And do you 
know, there is a funny twist to it all. And I am not talk- 
ing about pop Masses, marijuana Masses, Masses with 
crackers and whiskey instead of bread and wine, teenage 
Masses with Coca-Cola and hot-cross buns — all part of 
your renewal, My Eminent Brothers! Do you realize that 
the Latin Mass is the only version of the Mass not gen- 
erally allowed? Only allowed with special permission? 
How do you figure that? You can have the Mass in any 
language EXCEPT!!!" — he roars the word — "in Latin! 
And Archbishop Lefebvre and his Traditionalists are 
trounced for objecting while the plotters — yes, plotters — 
aren't even scolded." Walker sees both Buff and Marquez 
ready to jump to their feet, but he holds up his hand. "I 
will have finished in a little while. Please let me finish, 
Eminent Brothers. 

"As to the other changes in the Mass, all surprises! 
Every oner' Walker is referring to the scores of small 
changes in the words and ritual of Catholic worship and in 
the laws of the Church that have been forced on Roman 
Catholics for the last dozen years. "We Bishops never de- 
creed Communion in the hand, for example. We never 
decreed that the priest should face the people. We never de- 
creed that a table — again that idea of a meal and not a 
holy Sacrifice — should be used instead of an altar. We 
talked over these things at the Council, and decided against 
every one of them! Why were we not asked again? Who 
decided otherwise? I will tell you: That small group of 
periti, supported by a few Bishops and some Cardinals. '* 

Buff does finally intervene: "Say what you will, Your 
Eminence, I do not believe it is prudent to insist that these 
changes were the result of a deliberate plan. ..." 

"Now why, Eminent Brother, do you persevere in say- 
ing things like that? Why? Are you afraid? And can any 
one of my Eminent Brothers still think that all this was 
not deliberate?" 

"But to suggest that there was some sort of nefarious 
plan. , . ," 

"I do, I do think that, Eminent Brother. Yes. I do. I do 
more than that. I point the finger at those Bishops and those 
Cardinals who have acquired memberships — profitable 


memberships, by the way — in anti-Catholic anti-Christian 
organizations, clubs, and the like." 

Thule is on his feet. "I think that in such a grave case, 
not only is documentary proof needed, but His Eminence 
should have alerted the authorities long ago." 

"Well, as a matter of fact," Walker answers, almost 
smacking his lips, "as a matter of fact, I have the docu- 
mentary proof in my hands — you may have it if you want. 
And as a matter of fact, the Camerlengo has had that 
documentary proof for well over three years." Then, to 
the whole group, "Why didn't you know about it? 
Well ..." he glances over at the Camerlengo. "Reasons of 
State, perhaps. . . . 

"My Lord Cardinal Buff asked us moments ago, how has 
the Church come to this point? He did not, I realize, 
intend the question to be answered in quite this way, but 
I believe I have given you one example of how we have 
come to this point. And let me answer his next question: 
Yes, it is time we broke with the past Not as His Em- 
inence meant, perhaps. But in this sense: That we all 
operate in complete frankness for the duration of this 
Conclave." He looks around, over all the faces. "For, let 
everyone be put on notice: We have a sacred duty: to 
elect a successor to Peter and a Vicar for the Lord Jesus. I 
am deliberately restraining myself from all further com- 
ment for the moment. But, I say again, let everyone be 
put on notice: We will fight against any attempt on any- 
body's part — anybody, that is to say, outside the Conclave 
— to exercise even a minimum influence on the election of 
that successor and that Vicar. So help me, God!" 

This last statement, its violence and the implication of 
collusion between some Cardinals and outside powers, 
brings a wave of murmurs and remarks. Someone from the 
back cries out: "Vetoes on the election? Are you implying 
that someone is breaking the. law of the Conclave by bring- 
ing in a veto amongst us?" In the past history of Conclaves 
various governments were given the right by Popes to veto 
an undesirable papabile; and Cardinals would come bear- 
ing a command from their King or Emperor to the effect 
that such-and-such a Cardinal could not be elected Pope. 

"Vetoes? Vetoes? Who's speaking of vetoes? And what 
finally is a veto? Haven't you all brought some sort of 
veto? The best of us! 

"Do you think that my Most Eminent Brother, My Lord 

The Final Conclave 287 

Cardinal Artel, is going to sanction or lobby for a candi- 
date whom he knows is unacceptable to the Carter Ad- 
ministration? Or that Cardinal Deiacoste is going to sup- 
port someone unacceptable to the people sitting in the 
Elysee Palace? Or Cardinal Franzus support someone un- 
acceptable to Moscow? Candor, Brothers! We must proceed 
with candor. 

"Now, of course, these most Eminent and Reverend 
Cardinals only know that someone is unacceptable. They 
have not been instructed by their governments to take any 
kind of action. No government official has told them to 
veto a particular candidate. But let's not be naive!" 

"I demand, Reverend Lord Cardinal President," Mar- 
quez is angry as he intervenes, "that the Eminent Cardinal 
clarify the situation and his words. Does he mean that the 
Freemasons have a finger in our Conclave, or that some 
of the super powers have influence behind closed doors 
here today?" 

"No. I am not referring to the Freemasons primarily, or 
even secondarily, although, my Eminent Brother, which of 
us would deny that the Grand Orient does not pull some 
puppeteer strings here inside our Conclave? 

"No. It is something far more sinister. There is abroad 
in the world of man, in the society of men and women, 
whether it be in the U.S.A., in Switzerland, in the U.S.S.R., 
among the nations of Africa and Latin America, there is 
abroad a more comprehensive, more subtle, more far-reach- 
ing organization of particular men who give loyalty to no 
particular countries but to very particular principles, ac- 
cording to which they have in mind a very particular 
destiny for, among other institutions, this Holy Roman 
Catholic and Apostolic Church. For them, Freemasons are 
puppets. And Marxists are puppets besides being temporary 
impediments to the working out of their will and inten- 
tion." Walker stops. His lips are moving, his eyes for the 
moment raised to the ceiling of the Conclave Hall. As he 
remains silent, a silence falls, too, on the Cardinals, who 
are fascinated and stunned. 

After a lapse of some seconds, Walker speaks very 
quietly. "May Christ have mercy on us all, so that we 
make the correct decisions in this Conclave. For on us 
and on no one else depends the life and the death of mil- 
lions. And the peace or the agony of this Church. And 


the perseverance of many Christians. May God have mercy 
on us and give us light." 

He bows to the Presidents. 

One Cardinal comments to his neighbor, "To think that 
Hank Walker would be fighting for the old colors I Who 
would have thought it?" He is not the only one with the 
same thought. But this Conclave is surprising in many 

Out of the corner of his eye, as Walker returns to his 
place, he catches the chocolate-brown blur of Cardinal 
Coutinho's face. Coutinho is an old friend. On the faces 
of Thule, Franzus, Buff, and Marquez, one can read a mix- 
ture of anger and determination. The majority of the 
Electors have not absorbed all that Walker has told them. 
But, even so, there is a fresh sensation among them. For 
the first time since the Conclave began, each Cardinal has 
begun to feel the real tug and push of a Papal Conclave. 
Big issues now occupy the forefront of their minds. 

When Koi-Lo-Po calls out Franzus' name in the cus- 
tomary official manner, there is a change of mood. Almost 
a curiosity shared. Very few of the Cardinals know Franzus 
personally. Even those who have met him on the rare 
occasions when he has traveled outside his own country, 
or when they have gone to see him, always confessed later 
that they had not really got to know him. There is about 
Franzus some inscrutable element. There can be no doubt, 
however, about his eloquence. Words come easily to him. 

"Venerable Brothers, if anybody tad told me twenty 
years ago that I would be standing here proposing what 
I propose, it would have filled me with disbelief. Never- 
theless, these are the strange ways of Providence. And, 
today, I want to propose we all adopt a fresh look at 
Marxism. You see we all, individually and collectively, 
must do what we have to do. To my Brothers from the 
East, especially from the Eastern democracies, as well as 
to my Brothers from Africa, I have something to com- 
municate that is difficult to put into words. Nevertheless, 
it is in my opinion the truth. 

"Let me be simple about this, and let me use a simple 
image to convey my meaning. 

"Last summer, I had occasion to visit some friends of 
mine who live near the shores of our beautiful Lake Placid 

The Final Conclave 289 

at the foot of the Hollow Hills. Our destination — six of us 
were traveling together by car — was the hilly peninsula 
of Tarnton. But, as we approached the lake in a south- 
westerly direction from the city, we passed fields of pop- 
pies on either side of the road. So great was the glory 
of those flowers that we stopped the car, got out, all six 
of us, and walked for five or ten minutes in the fields, all 
the while discussing our mutual interests. 

"Suddenly, in the middle of what seemed an endless 
plain of poppies, one of us stopped and said: Took! Look! 
Look! Look at your skin, your eyes, your hair, your teeth, 
even your black clothes. Look! Look at them! They are 
on fire. We are walking inside the sun! And we are not 
consumed! A miracle of God! Look, I ask you!' 

"And, indeed, it was as he said. That glory and iri- 
descence of scarlet reflected from the scores of thousands 
of poppies was coloring everything we were. And even the 
air around us seemed to have been transfused with a 
scarlet haze. 

"Inside the sun! And not consumed! That, by way of 
image is what I wish to convey to you, my Colleagues, 
about us who live within the Marxist-Leninist regimes of 
our country and the democratic republics of the East. 

"Yes, surely, we are within the fierce sunburst of the 
Red star. It colors all we can see, and all you can see of 
us and of our lives. Yet, as Christians, we are not con- 
sumed. We do not perish. We have done more than merely 
survive. We flourish. Think on it, my Brothers, we flourish! 
Inside the sun, we flourish! 

"Oh, I know you have questions to put to me. I know 
that you have one question in particular to ask us — to ask 
me, as spokesman for those Christians I am living with. 
It is a question I have answered one thousand times, if 
once, as it came from my priests, my fellow bishops, my 
ordinary believers. Can Christians accept Marxism? Is 
Leninist Communism compatible with the Gospels? And I 
know what past Popes have written. And I say to you: 
None of them lived under a Marxist regime; and none of 
them have had a working alliance forced on them with 
sincere Marxists. Theoretically and in abstract dogma, any 
such alliance can be shown to be impossible. But, believe 
me, in real life it works out differently. 

"Let me give you in simple terms the answer I have given 


to all those priests and bishops and layfolk who asked me 
the same question as you surely wish to. 

"The answer is that, in the concrete circumstances of our 
day, in this year, at this time, given the unbridgeable 
chasm between the haves and the have-nots, between our 
Christian ideal and the opposing conditions that are the 
hard realities for the overwhelming majority of mankind — 
and given that failure, as My Lord Lynch pointed out, of 
the classical Christian world to be simply Christian — given 
all that, a passage through Marxism seems to be the neces- 
sary condition for ending the spiritual alienation of the 
overwhelming majority of mankind. 

"For in truth, Brothers, Communism's value, its identity 
even, is not — as many Westerners think — merely as an 
economic solution. We know I We know how many flaws 
there are in Communism as an economic theory. But the 
real value of Communism, its very identity, lies in the fact 
that it is an absolute historical exigency; it is the only 
way. ..." 

Riccioni is on his feet signaling to the President for per- 
mission to intervene. At the President's direction Franzus 
sits down in a chair at the Presidents' table, smiling quiedy 
to himself. 

"My Lord Cardinals," Riccioni begins in a distressed 
fashion, "if My Lord Cardinal Franzus needs any refur- 
bishing of his grasp of Church teaching, the dogmatic 
statements of the Popes, and what Christian piety de- 
mands, as well as the holiness which Christ demands of 
his Church. . . ." 

"Yes/' it is Franzus, still seated, smiling still. "Of course. 
Of coursel My Lord Cardinal Riccioni has all the time in 
the world to read books and attend conferences. But as 
Marx said, it is easy to be a saint when you have no wish 
to be human. Now," glancing at the First President, "if I 
may continue. . . ." 

"Because Christ became human," Riccioni is trying to 
continue, "was incarnated, the Church has to sanctify all; 
and Marxism will not allow the Church. . . ." 

"Our problem is precisely that, My Lord Cardinal," 
Franzus retorts. "Christ became human. This is a human 
Church. A human world, by the way. We will not abandon 
it. We want to remain part of it all. . . ." 

"You were about to speak of the only way," the emo- 

The Final Conclave 291 

tional Riccioni is practically shouting, and his voice has 
become hoarse, "well, my Brother, be on notice, the only 
way to achieve holiness, for the Church, is for the Church 
to remain separate from error." 

The Cardinal President makes a sign to Riccioni: Fran- 
zus has precedence, and he must be allowed to finish his 
address. Riccioni slumps down. 

Franzus stands again, ready to go much further still. 
"To continue, my Brothers. Not only is Communism a his- 
torical necessity; the atheism of Marxists is a necessary 
condition for Christians to pass through in order to achieve 
redemption from alienation — the alienation which that 
ancient Christian world imposed on them and on all men." 
All during Franzus* remarks and the Riccioni intervention, 
tempers had been heating, up. Now, Franzus' words are 
like a fire; tempers explode. Cries of "Treachery!" "Trea- 
son!", "Evil!", "Compromise with Satan!" are met with 
counter-cries of "Hear him out!", "Let the Holy Spirit 
speak through the least of us!", "We all have something 
to contribute!" The silver bell of the Cardinal President 
tinkles impotently through it all. Franzus is no longer smil- 
ing. But Thule nods to him; and Buff joins his palms above 
his head and gives Franzus the sign of congratulations. 

Vasari manages to obtain permission to speak. The 
clamor dies down except for isolated conversations and 
an odd cry of disgust or support. Vasari is flushed deep 
red in the face. His right fist is closed on the palm of his 
left hand. 

"My Lord Cardinals, we have the right, I think — and 
I think that a majority of you stand with me in this — to 
know what in the name of true reason and true faith our 
Most Eminent Brother," this last said with a touch of 
sarcasm and suspicion, as if Vasari was naming something 
malodorous, "can possibly mean by 'a necessary atheism/ 
Let him tell us!" 

Cries of "Bravo, Vasari!" (Good, Vasari.) "Bene detto! 
Vasari!" (Well said, Vasari.) Vasari turns to Franzus and 
motions to him that he has the floor. 

"Somebody said to me before this Session that I speak 
as if atheism was a mere consequence of Marxism. Atheism 
they said is the principle, the fount and origin of Marxism. 
To be sure! If by 'atheism* you mean a rejection of an 
intellectual system tied to a bourgeois system of govern- 
ment. To be sure! If by 'atheism* you mean rejection of an 


economic development based on elitism and monopolism 
and dynasticism — dynasty of corporation, of families, of 
class. To be sure! But again," he seeks out Vasari with 
his eyes, and his look is flint-hard, uncompromising, "that 
atheism is a necessary passage of purification! And this is 
the only step that will enable a total requisitioning of 
human energies to solve mankind's problems." Even in 
his intense concentration, Franzus becomes aware of the 
restlessness and rising tempers. 

He continues with even greater insistence. "When that 
is done, when fundamentals are taken care of, I am con- 
vinced the realities of human existence will be laid bare; 
and then that initial atheism will be eliminated. By that 
time, new structures of human life — for the individual, for 
the family, for the city, for the state, for the nation, for 
all the nations — will have arisen. And these will properly 
house the spirit of religion in man. Listen to me! None of 
you, my Brothers, is so foolish as to imagine that all men 
and women have to be converted to the true faith and to 
the highest virtue before we transform the political and 
social regimes which oppress them. Or do you?" 

There is an angry challenge from the back of the Con- 
clave assembly: "What would Cardinal Stepinac or 
Mindszenty say to you today, Franzus? What would they 
say, tell us?" 

Franzus looks in the direction of the voice. "Well, which 
of us adhered to the policy of Pope Paul 6? He received 
Premier Kadar in the Vatican you know! He eliminated 
your Mindszenty I Don't you think my attitude is like that 
of Paul 6?" 

Vasari is on his feet thundering, "Nobody here has ap- 
proved of the Ostpolitik of the preceding Holy Father." 
And Riccioni is joining Vasari by hissing between his 
teeth — an ancient Conclave habit for indicating disapproval, 
"Be that as it may, my Brother. I assure you, I do not 
disparage Cardinals Mindszenty and Stepinac. Let me tell 
those Venerable Brothers whose voices are strident with 
pain, I too know all about Communist prisons, all about 
Communist oppression, interrogations and information- 
getting methods. All about it." Franzus' voice is so vibrant 
and so deep that there is an instant silence. They see tears 
on his cheeks now. The man is really weeping. "And, if 
any of my Venerable Brothers have the stomach for it, 
and the rules of modesty allow, I will show them in private 

The Final Conclave 293 

some living reminders of a Communist lash and a Com- 
munist pincers. The lash, they will notice, is one-half -inch 
wide. The pincers open to a space of two inches." He 
pauses. He has everybody's attention. He looks up again 
with reddened eyes at the Cardinals. "As I say, we know 
what suffering is. We know! Your catalogue of Commu- 
nism's tortures and punishments is vastly incomplete, 
compared to ours." In this oblique way, Franzus is trying 
to tell Vasari and all the others that they cannot under- 
stand Stepinac or Mindszenty, and they cannot under- 
stand his motives. "Yet, I wonder, in passing, what sort 
of a comparison a historian could make. Yes, surely, the 
Marxist states have amassed an agonizing corpus of im- 
prisonment, assassination, massacres, calumny, isolation, 
torture, slavery of the mind, the penalty of living death — 
all of which we know to be true. I wonder if we should 
perhaps compare all that Gulag of agony with the earlier 
Gulag of agony imposed by the Church, and by Christians 
in the name of the Church. On Muslims. On Jews. On 
heretics. In the so-called witchhunts. In the religious wars. 
In Charlemagne's Christianizing of Europe by killing thou- 
sands of people at a time because they refused to convert. 
In the slavery of African blacks, of Latin American In- 
dians — and some of this in the recent past, mind you . . ." 
Franzus' voice rings out, now. 

"And how Christians ate each other in their mutual 
hatred I The massacres of the Thirty Years' War. The can- 
nibalism in Pomerania during the same war. The starva- 
tion of the Irish Catholic peasants. There's no need to go on. 
But did any official Christian theologians condemn Chris- 
tianity on account of all that? Those that tried — a Savona- 
rola, a Huss, others — you know what happened to them! 
And remember too, the gentle scholars we did away with 
merely because they were searching for the truth — a 
Giordano Bruno, for example, whom we burned alive be- 
cause he said the earth was round. No, let us not compare 

"Let us rather talk of what Marxism is out to destroy. 
In a word, the bourgeois man — his society, his capitalism, 
his prostitution of religion to profit, his elitism, his neglect 
of his fellow men; and let us be quite clear what we mean 
by bourgeois man and see his innate tendency to profound 

Uccello, red in the face, his arms waving, cannot remain 


quiet. "You talk about blasphemy, Eminence! You talk 
about blasphemy!" And opposite him, it is Cardinal Tucci, 
his voice quavering: "Are we to go on like this, Eminences, 
hearing all that is truly lovely degraded by one of our 
number, about whose true intentions we — some of us — 
have doubts? Are we?" 

"My Brothers, I told you a moment ago that behind 
the simple answer I have given to so many who ask if 
Christians can accept Marxism, behind the simple answer, 
there lies a frank analysis of the past, and just as frank an 
appraisal of the present and the future of the world, and 
of Jesus' Church. I ask you now: Will you let me share it 
with you, Brothers?" Some cries of "//a" greet the question. 
And Franzus goes on, now; he has won the chance to 
make his case. 

"Let's look then, at the bourgeois man that disturbed 
my Lord Uccello so much a moment ago. For, like it or 
not, the question that faces us is precisely bourgeois man, 
bourgeois Christian man. The essential note of that man is 
that everything about him is geared to exploitation of 
nature, the furtherance of technology, and the use of all 
forces in our world in order to multiply money for the 
bourgeois man's use and enjoyment. 

"Don't tell me this is a Christian outlook! Or even a 
humanist, a properly humanist outlook! Yet this is pre- 
cisely the type of human being and the type of civilization 
that Christianity produced. In the concepts of theologians 
and the reasoning of philosophers from Aquinas to Rous- 
seau and down to Karl Marx, the supernatural was used for 
the exploitation of nature and of our fellow man. 

"And that use, that exploitation, was carried to such 
a point that the very institutional Church itself, and the very 
civilization it fostered and created and maintained, was 
impregnated with the idea of alienating man from his 
world. Of subjecting him to the cruel exigencies of material 
things — to the loss or lack of such things, or to the slavery 
to such things — for the sake of the profits of a few. And 
the leadership of Christ's Church was placed in the hands 
of, or at least at the disposal of, those bourgeois few — 
the kings, the princes, the noblesse, and ancien regime, the 
dictators, the Bourbons, the Hohenzollerns, and all the rest. 
And, today* it is at the disposal of dictators and interna- 
tional corporations and financial monopolies. 

"Make no mistake about it That old Christian worlds 

The Final Conclave 295 

the ancien rigime with its triple-tiered society — clergy, 
nobility and working classes — served a purpose. It was, 
once upon a time, organically suitable for all the world* 
For all were bound together by bonds of loyalty, fealty, 
service, faith, authenticity. All old, beautiful values. And 
highly personalized. 

"But, as Marx saw, naked historical forces disrupted it. 
Notably, one: The rise of the mercantile and industrial 
class of the 1800s and the 1900s. And then that huge mass 
of workers produced for the few. And the clergy, the 
Church, was aligned with the few. And between those few 
and the working class there was now no loyalty or fealty, 
nothing personal — but only the wage contract. In place of 
the Medieval economy, there now was the capitalist regime: 
interest, lending, capital investment, profit-margins, ex- 
ploitation of natural resources, and the slavery of the fac- 
tory and the production-line system. We went along with 
all that, you know, Brothers I Nothing personalistic. And 
Christianity accepted this situation 1 

"And, finally, the masses — those inert, obedient, suffer- 
ing masses — began to move. By an irresistible, historical 
necessity, they began to move. So, the imminent dynamism 
of Communism started. It was given voice by a Marx, by 
an Engels, by a Lenin. And note well — for this is brute 
historical fact, whether we like it or not: Whatever leader- 
ship of the Spirit of Christ once lay between the jeweled 
hands and upon the crowned heads of Princes, that leader- 
ship has passed to the proletariat. Whatever Messianic 
character the ruling classes have borne for so long, that 
Messianic character has ceased to be theirs. It has passed, 
if anywhere, to the proletariat 

"Of course, it is frightening. For us. Myopic as we arel 
For we can see no transcendent, nothing of what we call 
Spirit. We only see historical reality, separate from any 
transcendent. But that is because we never incarnated the 
Spirit of Jesus in all of life. 

"And now there has been and is this frightening descent 
back into the primordial and concrete substrata of human 
life, into the materialism of policy, the materialism of 
values, the materialism of politics, of sociology, of art, of 
music. Why? Because, there is no other way of liberation!" 

While Franzus is plunging on, a little drama is being 
played out among his listeners. Each sentence of Franzus* 
has seemed to provoke more and more irritation among 


some Cardinals. Now some are whispering, passing notes, 
gesturing to each other. Domenico, who had sat impassively 
from the beginning, becomes aware of the increasing ac- 
tivity. Partly with calming gestures, partly by word of 
mouth, now and again by writing short notes, he succeeds 
in preventing any interruption. For Domenico wants 
Franzus to have his full say. Once and for all, the Electors 
as a body must hear with their own ears as full an expres- 
sion as is possible of an opinion and a policy that has 
already gained great vogue among Roman Catholics, lay 
and clerical. 

Franzus appears unaware of any disruption and, com- 
pletely caught up with the drama of his vision, proceeds 
without interruption. "And now the proletariat is the bearer 
of the new mission, the mother of a new liberation, the 
Messianic victim and newsbearer. As the majority occupy- 
ing the lowest rung in the ladder, the proletariat every- 
where is on the move. And Marxism has become the neces- 
sary spark to fire its activity. This is the historical reality 
of our day. 

"No doubt about it, Venerable Brothers — that proletariat 
will in its movement lead to a resurrection from our dead 
past and from our materialism. Through it we will see a 
total deliverance from our bourgeois Gulag. We will see 
human time cut in two, and the Calvary of Jesus ending 
in a genuine resurrection for all men and women. And 
Marx shall meet with Jesus at the final Omega point when 
the human spirit rises out of the primordial mud and slime 
of our materialism. 

"Do not, my Brothers, do not lightly — or through fear — 
throw away the movement of two-thirds of humanity. That 
would be a new Manicheanism on your part. For then, 
with our Christian bourgeois God we would confront an- 
other irreconcilable and opposing deity, the masses. 

"What good is there in Marxism, you ask? I answer: 
What good is there in your Christianity? For Marxism 
shares much with true Christianity. And if one be good, 
the other must be good. 

"Communism seeks the integration of individuals with 
the group, with humanity. So do genuine Christians, 

"Communism holds that the economic system of produc- 
tion and distribution of goods and services has an essential 
importance for the life of the group, its culture, its human- 
ism, its beliefs. So do genuine Christians. 

The Final Conclave 297 

"Communism says that it was bourgeois capitalism, 
blessed and fomented by the Church, which developed the 
usurious character of capitalism from which all the ills 
of our world have flowed — poverty, malnutrition, wars, 
colonialism, slaveries, drug traffic, fascism, dictatorial 
regimes. So do genuine Christians. 

"Communism says that Christian capitalism, and only 
this system in the 12,000 years of recorded culture, has 
given rise to class warfare — all sanctioned by the Church 
in the recent past. So do genuine Christians. 

* 'Communism says that in the transformation of the 
family, man and woman will be economically equal. The 
Communist hope of a paradise of joy and freedom is based 
on that equality. The genuine Christian wants the same 
thing. The genuine Christian rejects the chauvinism, the 
hypocrisy and the cruelty of the bourgeois marriage. 

"Bourgeois man with his oppression, his godliness, his 
anarchy, is hateful to Communists. He is also hateful to 
genuine Christians." 

Ignoring Domenico's gestures to stay calm, Riccioni 
has gone over for a whispered consultation with Domeni- 
co. Riccioni's face is a picture of indignation. After a few 
minutes he returns to his place, folds his arms on his 
chest, closes his eyes, and waits. But then there is a shout 
from Franzus' left. "What was that7 What did my Rever- 
end Brother say?" 

Tucci is standing. "What will be the end of all this move- 
ment through materialism and atheism that you are en- 
deavoring to sanctify?" 

*The ultimate object, the ultimate end of it all? In a 
word, my Eminent Brother and Cardinal, it is this: trans- 
figurations. Men and women, knowing that the grace of 
Jesus has changed them, will work together to realize 
and effect universal change. . . ." 

"An example, Your Eminence," Tucci interrupts testily, 
ill concealing his anger, "a concrete example, please, of 
this strange atheist miraclel" 

"You want an example? For well over 500 years, the 
Church has been teaching us about the dignity of man 
and his divine vocation to a noble destiny. Well, suppose 
we stop talking about it. Suppose instead we insist that all 
men and women have dignity, and can follow such a high 
vocation? How to do this? We must be sure every person 
has food and drink, clothes, a place to live, work to do, 


medical care, and so on. That is a concrete example for 
Your Eminence!" 

"The Church has been insisting on this and telling , . ," 
it is the Camerlengo who rises, interrupting without warn- 
ing, obviously intending to lacerate Franzus. But Franzus 
interrupts him in turn. 

"Nobody in the barrios of Brazil, the shanty towns 
around Lima, Caracas, Algiers, nobody in Harlem, New 
York, in the slums of Barcelona, in the Sahel, in Calcutta, 
in Bombay, believes what you say, Eminence. Oh, not that 
you are not sincere. In word, that is. But the actions 
you sanction belie your words! And, as I say, they don't 
believe you out there among the suffering masses of peo- 
ple. They simply don't believe you at all. They know 
otherwise. You can believe all you say, if that makes 
you happy, Eminence. But that is all it is — you making 
yourself happy." 

Nobody had ever addressed the Camerlengo in this 
fashion and with such brutal personal reference. He sits 
down. Franzus now faces Antonello who has permission to 

"We have all seen again and again the first thing the 
Communists do is tear the Cross down, Reverend Brother!" 

Franzus says nothing for a moment. Then he speaks 
mildly to Antonello. "Reverend Cardinal, if they don't tear 
it down, we should. We! We should! How dare we, pro- 
fessedly servants of the Poor Carpenter, how dare we wear 
one jewel in our pectoral crosses, or in our rings! How 
dare we use gold or silver for our chalices and crosses and 
mitres and croziers, when one baby — one, I say — " his 
voice rises to a bellow of protest, "one baby is dying with 
a swollen belly and skeletal limbs on a garbage dump in 
Karachi! How dare we!" Antonello sits down, his head 
bowed. He cannot cope with this type of discussion. 

"To return to my main theme, and to end. I realize, 
Eminent Brothers, I realize all your fears. Believe me. But 
We need to walk with this movement of the masses, and 
to walk without fear. Compromise is no longer possible 
for the Church of Christ. We must have no more to do 
with capitalist idolatry of wealth. Our first Christian an- 
cestors could not compromise with Roman idolatry. Nor 
can we, their Roman descendants, compromise with this 
idolatry. We have to abandon the whole elan of appetites 
which drives us to hoard, to appropriate, to accumulate. 

* The Final Conclave 299 

We have to leave behind the entire framework of values 
about the primacy of money and the necessity of gain 
which has been bequeathed to us by our late Christian world 
and its dead creators. 

* ( No man sews a patch of new cloth on an old garment, 
Jesus said. And no one pours new wine into old wine- 
skins. Our civilization and all our structures of state and 
city are nothing more than an old, worn garment. Our 
structures of Church and family are old wineskins. That 
old garment only shows our shame. The wineskins can turn 
the wine; and the wine of fine and human feeling has 
drained out of them. We need to seek new wineskins for 
our new wine, a wholly new garment to clothe the naked- 
ness and misery of humanity. For surely this is the primary 
meaning of the salvation of Jesus." 

Franzus' closing words, the generally deft way in which 
he handled any heckling, and the tone of pleading inter- 
laced with what nobody doubts is his piety — all this has 
apparently produced a profound effect amongst the Elec- 
tors. There is no outcry. But every Cardinal seems to be 
talking to his neighbor. On Franzus' closing words even 
Koi-Lo-Po starts a small conversation of his own with his 
two co-Presidents. 

Suddenly there is silence, and Koi-Lo-Po realizes that 
the Electors are waiting for him to announce the next 
speaker. In an extra loud voice, as if to compensate for his 
mistake, he announces: "My Most Reverend Lord Cardinal 

Thule has waited quietly for the announcement, not budg- 
ing from his place until it is fully made and a little applause 
has greeted the announcement of his name. After a deliber- 
ate walk and a slow prayer at the Altar, he faces the Elec- 
tors, open-faced, grave-eyed, solemn-toned. There is a 
certain majesty in Thule's whole performance. It impresses 
everybody. The majesty of it. And the sincerity. 

"It falls to me, Venerable Brothers, to explain to you 
as briefly and as clearly as I can, the essential lines, the 
dominant features, as it were, of the Church and of the 
Papacy, as we see them. By 'we* I mean those of us who 
feel it necessary to oppose the General Policy candidates 
list — and who feel above all that we must oppose the 


grounds and presumptions stated in the General Policy as 
the basis upon which any valid General Policy candidate 
would be obliged, ex officio, to work and to govern the 
Church of Jesus. 

"I think the frank if disturbing words of my Most Em- 
inent Cardinals Lynch and Franzus have made it abun- 
dantly clear that we, as heirs of the Church of the Middle 
Ages, of the Renaissance, and of the Enlightenment, have 
a debt to all Christians. We owe them an act of apology. 
We owe them a frank recognition of our past failures. 
And we owe them a faithful service in the future. We owe 
this to humanity in the name of Christ!" 

Thule pauses. Some of the Cardinals seem to see tears 
brimming in his eyes. Certainly, when he takes up again 
his voice has a deep quaver to it, as if while speaking 
he is barely holding the lid on some powerful feeling. "My 
Brothers, you will forgive me, if I ill control the passion 
and the certainty that has been gnawing at me all these 

There is now that sort of silence among the Electors 
that falls on people who expect something embarrassing 
to happen in their midst. But Thule goes on evenly enough, 
though still with that throb of inner emotion. 

"When I think of the concepts of the holy, of the sacred, 
of the profane, of the secular, of God, of man that have 
been current coin in the Christian world, and when I think 
of the evils perpetrated on humanity — on men, on women, 
on children — in the name of those concepts, yes! I weep 
for that. But my tears and emotion are also the beginning 
of a deep joy." He looks around at the faces, studying the 
expressions on each one. "For among us, in our hands, 
through our minds and our voices there is a gentle light 
breaking, a hope of salvation." 

"The world will always be evil and profane. We are the 
keepers of the sacred and of the holy, in the middle of 
this evil." Tucci is very angry at Thule. 

"But that is not Christian," Thule answers. He forms 
each syllable clearly and cuttingly now, like the strokes 
of an axe. "The holy is not pure, and the profane just 
impure. That is not true Christian teaching or theology. 
That is Judaism. That is paganism. Whatever you like. But 
not Christianity! That is a denial of the Incarnation. For 
Jesus became a man, became part of this universe; and all 

The Final Conclave 301 

of it is holy, all of it is sacred. He interiorized every- 
thing " 

'To judge from your remarks," Tucci is speaking again, 
"you would reduce Jesus to the status of proto-man! The 
spirit is never confused with matter. The two are com- 
pletely separate. The All-Holy lives in this evil world," 

"And you, my Brother, would reduce Christianity to a 
Judaic formalism of clean and unclean. You would make 
piety a physical thing, and worship a social thing, like the 
Greek and Roman pagans." Thule remains firm. 

"We, like Jesus and Paul, cannot be of this world ever. 
We are on a pilgrimage in this world!" Tucci is angry. 

"Christians! We are Christians! And we believe that 
Christ has renovated all things; we believe that God's 
goodness is here with the sons of men. . . ." 

"And My Lord Cardinal makes no distinction between 
the temporal and the spiritual therefore?" Now it is Bron- 
zino, not famous either for interventions or verbal fights. 
Thule turns and stares at Bronzino. 

"If anybody can tell us the distinction between the tem- 
poral and the spiritual, between the physical and the 
metaphysical," Thule says softly, "it is My Lord Sergio 
Bronzino. After all, he has had that experience in Wash- 
ington, he and his family." A dull silence. The reference 
was lost on no one. Bronzino's face is flushed in anger. He 
appeals to Koi-Lo-Po. 

"The Eminent Cardinal Thule will please avoid re- 
marks that injure charity and fraternal union," the Presi- 
dent chides Thule. 

"An admonition that applies to all of us, all of us," 
Thule grates the words out. "Now, of course, I agree there 
is a distinction between the temporal and the spiritual. 
Each is a different activity. Both are tending to the King- 
dom of God " 

"And the Prince of this World!" Riccioni stands, speak- 
ing calmly with the air of a master swordsman presenting 
the tip of his blade to an adversary's throat. "Has he been 
converted, this Prince of the World whom Jesus condemned 
so violently? Or has he too been divinized, Eminence?" It 
has been a contention of Riccioni and the Traditionalists 
that Thule and the "new theologians" act as if the Devil, 
the "Prince of this World," had become good and no 
longer tempts human beings. 

Thule crosses himself, with a chastened look, but goes 


on courageously, "Venerable Brothers, I would not have 
you mistake my meaning or hear me in fear. The Church 
is holy. The world is not. Granted. The world is holy 
insofar as it is more than the world, in other words insofar 
as it is assumed into the incarnation of Christ. And what 
Christ began we must achieve. It would be a gross treachery 
to our race and to our world if we were not to see that 
the values of the Gospel penetrate all of human existence, 
that those values are reproduced in the socio-political and 
cultural and personal orders of human society." 

Now there is another interruption. Coutinho of Asia, 
known ally of Ferro, one of the Conservative papabili, has 
secured permission to speak. "What then is our Eminent 
Brother proposing that is new or different or enlightening? 
Would his Eminence please tell us what is the Kingdom of 
God according to his mind? And what is the framework of 
thought about that Kingdom with which we should elect 
the 264th successor to Peter the Apostle?" 

Thule answers unhesitatingly. "I will tell My Lord Cardi- 
nal Coutinho and all of you, Brothers. The Kingdom of 
God is the kingdom to come. It is not to be confused with 
this world, this material universe with its human society 
and its Prince. The Kingdom of God is to come. And we, 
bere on this earth, are to build toward it. But we are not 
to — we cannot, it would be blasphemous to say that we 
must — we are not to strive to make this world itself the 
Kingdom of God. 

"What we must do, we can do: work at transforming 
the social regime of the world, the political regime of the 
world, thus making the world a place of a truly and fully 
iiuman life." 

"I think," Riccioni breaks in, "if His Eminence will allow 
me a word. We should remind ourselves that the Church's 
task is to save souls. We have over and over again learned 
from our own history that socio-political activity corrupts 
the spiritual aims of the Church. Why, if My Lord Franzus' 
painful rehearsal of some of the dark times of our history 
means anything, it means that!" 

"No, Eminent Brother! No!" Thule is sure in his em- 
phatic refusal of what the Cardinal is saying. "That entire 
Medieval world, that old Christianity, that Christian world, 
as my Eminent Colleagues pointed out, is at an end. The 
aim then was to create a sacred empire of God and of 
Christ over all things — men, women, families, money, na- 

The Final Conclave 303 

tions, politics, social structures, art — everything. And, for 
over 1600 years, the Church was bent on bringing the 
supernatural down and making it part and parcel of this 
world and making every temporal thing — water and wine, 
the sword and the cross, politics and rule of government — 
making all these things minister to a sacred empire, making 
them instruments of that holy empire. 

"You know the result as well as I do, my Eminent 
Brother. You know that thus we Christians tied up the 
office of Peter with that of dictator, the office of shepherd 
with that of soldier, the office of priest with that of execu- 
cutioner, the office of dispenser of grace with that of finan- 
cier and broker. . . ." 

"That is exactly what I am saying, Eminence," Riccioni 
breaks in glacially. "We thus corrupted our philosophy. All 
you are proposing is a change of cast. . . ," 

"We did worse. We spawned a rationalism that scorned 
man so much that it removed God from man. And we gave 
birth to a revolution that so divinized man that it removed 
God from all creation. We are the true father of Descartes 
and his agnosticism! Of Marx and his atheism! Of all the 
rationalists! Saint Bonaventure said it well when he told 
your Aquinas that he was father to all the heretics!" 

"It would be well," objects Vasari heavily, "if our 
Eminent Brethren did not confuse our Aquinas with the 
rationalists and heretics." 

The President coughs discreetly. "Let us all leave the 
name of Saint Thomas in blessing." 

"I thank My Most Eminent Lord President." Thule bows 
graciously to the long table. "What we now must see com- 
ing and work mightily for is a new Christendom. In it, the 
temporal is not subordinated to the spirituaL The Church 
remains detached from all responsibility of administering 
and dealing on temporal terms with that world. But each 
Christian is in conscience bound to work for a new tem- 
poral order." 

"What new order, Eminence?" Uc cello chimes in. 

"It is here already. Inchoate, but here." 

"If so," Nobili objects, "is it one and the same as the 

"Christians will no longer seek to establish a unity of 
belief and thought, a unity of intellectual and political struc- 
tures. Nor will they use any temporal means to coerce men 
into a unity of Spirit. Nor will they strive to establish so- 


cial and juridical structures devoted to spreading the re- 
demption of Christ." 

Tucci is again on his feet; Thule yields the floor. "Your 
Eminences may be as confused as I am at this point. We 
know the Christian world which the Church created over 
a period of a thousand years. Must we decry that world 
now? Must we condemn it?'* 

"Yes!" Now Uccello is standing. "And must we then 
yield to a world where, we are told, the welfare of everyone 
will be somehow taken care of, even though apparently 
there will be no moral guidance for everyday life, if I 
understand our Venerable Brother Cardinal correctly. 11 

"In that world you love so much, in that Kingdom of 
Christ, the Kingdom you long so much after," Thule is in 
complete control of his thought, "in that world in order 
to evaluate anything — person, thing, place, action — every- 
thing was, as I said a moment ago, referred to some 
measure outside of men and women, exterior to the human 
beings. In that world, we were good at figuring out laws 
of material production, rates and methods of technological 
progress, norms for utilizing the raw materials of nature 
in order to create wealth, to increase wealth. And so there 
was and is wealth for some and merely suffering and penury 
for the majority. And over this world, the Pope and his 
Curia presided. And if you call that Christian, if that is 
your Kingdom of Christ, then your Kingdom is not of 
Heaven, and your concept of Christian life has nothing to 
do with the Gospel of Christ! Once upon a time, in the 
Christian world, all authority in that Kingdom on earth was 
centered in the Papacy." 

"I do not see," Bronzino takes up the argument from his 
place, "how Christendom can change its age-old belief of 
submission to the central authority of the Pope." He sits 

"Then try to see, Brother! In the new Christendom, in 
the world toward which we and the future Pontiff with his 
whole Church must labor, we Christians will no longer 
seek to develop, much less impose, a common doctrine and 
unity of belief. We will not even insist on a theoretical doc- 
trinal minimum. For what we will share with this world 
is a work of transforming the socio-political regime. So 
that you can say we have in common with all men a hard- 
headed problem, not a Christian problem, but a socio- 
political problem to be solved by Christians in conjunction 

The Final Conclave 305 

with all other men of good will — and the vast majority 
of men are of good will!" 

"Are we then to become just social workers and political 
scientists?" Riccioni's blood is rising again. "Hasn't the 
Church got the answer already in its Papal teaching, in its 
principles? If we renounce that, are we not a nation-state 
without a nation? Are we not merely a social agency?" 

"No, Eminent Brother, I am not saying that. That would 
be naive. We would be naive to accept that today. Naive 
With the dogmatism of Medieval times. We must be realists. 
We must see the human work to be accomplished. True, 
divine grace and divine love will pass through us, and 
through the mortal fabric of our world. Divine grace will 
transpenetrate our instincts, our work, our days, our lives, 
our whole universe." 

"A Christian's task is to cultivate holiness'" Tucci ob- 

"But that is because you make a false separation. You 
would satisfy yourself that you are being good Christians 
if you practice the works of piety, celebrate the feast days 
of Christ, the Virgin, the Saints, the Martyrs, defend the 
material possessions of the Church. You then think that 
you have acquitted yourselves of all duties to the City of 
Man and to the temporal order of things in this world of 

"But you haven't! You have merely packaged the 
Church neatly and laid it in one corner, and left the world 
in another corner. And thus, you leave the world go to the 
Prince of this world and to Mis HelL And you have sinned. 
Surely against God. But primarily against your brothers 
and your sisters, men and women who are good, who 
deserve what is good, who need liberty and blessings of 
material welfare in order to seek the Kingdom of which 
you speak so much and so glowingly! 

"To separate the City of God and the City of Man is 
moral Pharisaism. You sacrifice the human to the divine. 
No wonder we gave birth to the cynical Machiavelli, who 
sacrificed all morality; and to warrior Popes and papal war- 
riors who sacrificed the human for the divine in us — if even 
they had that good a motive! And no wonder we gave 
birth to so many heretics." 

"Then tell us, Eminence," Domcnico is asking in his 
usual mild way, "what socio-political order you have in 


"What socio-political order? One in which there is no 
disparity of social classes, for one thing. One which is 
to be made up of totally new social structures that will 
permit a massive diversity. One that encourages and 
works for the administrative and political autonomy of 
regional units. And this in such a way that politics, the 
sociology of family and of city and of state, would foment 
a thoroughly personalist conception of life. . . ." 

"A race of egotists? Is that it? Or a race of human ants? 
Is that it?" Tucci is contemptuous. 

"No! But certainly a personalist socialism that will be 

"Will it also be sanctified by religion?" Tucci is obvi- 
ously baiting Thule. "And what do you mean by that al- 
most vulgar term 'personalis^ which doesn't mean per- 
sonal- — or does it?" 

"We believe that any creature of God is holy — precisely 
because Christ did die for all. Now as regards the terms 
'personalist' and 'personalistic.' I learned them from the 
writings of Pope Pius 12. And for your information, the 
Pope used these terms to mean everything that safe- 
guarded the dignity of the human person." 

"But," interjects Riccioni, "as you know, the Commu- 
nists used this term with their own meaning, All that 
nonsense again!" 

Domenico comes in now with a mild but dangerous 
question: "And what economic base do you envisage for 
your new socialism?" 

"The economic basis? An economic system founded on 
a few simple but far-reaching principles: 

"One: that we make a complete break, a violent rupture 
with the bourgeois capitalist system of Western democracy. 
That worn system is founded on the elitist and on the 
monopolistic policies of the Industrial Revolution. It is a 
residue of the past. And it stands or falls by its exploitative 
economy, where money, and profit-making are primary — 
are everything. 

"The proletarian hitherto has had to consent to hand 
over his labor for a wage — thus depriving him of a value- 
basis for his dignity. As we see the future, he will no longer 
be saddled with this condition which diminishes the ac- 
cumulation of his value and the building of his dignity. 
Without the fertility of money at the expense of the pro- 
letarian's labor, capitalism will wither away. 

The Final Conclave 307 

"Two: The new socio-political regime will overturn the 
basic dictum of capitalism that says: You will get nothing 
for nothing. And which says: To get something, you must 
have something. To overturn this, I say we should make 
it astoundingly true that all men and women have some- 
thing for nothing! Have as many things as possible for 
nothing! Have, at least, a sufficiency of good things, of 
necessary things!" 

"And where then is the Biblical command to work, to 
gain our livelihood by the sweat of our brows?" Domenico 
is still in pursuit. 

"Such social morality seems to be just a grab bag of 
useful things, suitable things, advantageous things, pros- 
perous things, all tied together with the string of practical 
motives. But we advocate a spiritual realism based on a 
regime of spiritual unity/' 

"And what sort of a Church are you going to allow 
us?" Nobili asks. "The Church: What's to become of it?" 

"The Church? What sort of Church? In what relation- 
ship with non-Catholics, with non-Christians? Here is the 
nub of it all, my Eminent Brothers: The very core of it 
all! We must work and strive so that all, believers and 
unbelievers, non-Catholics, non-Christians, atheists, all 
inhabit — I should say cohabit — the City of Man with us. 
Nay, we must go further, and be the first to defend their 
right to so live, and to be left at peace and alone" in their 
liberty, without being harassed by 'evangelists' or bothered 
by 'missionaries'. . . ." 

"Christ said: 'Go forth, teach all nations.' Are we to 
stop all our vast missionary effort?" Domenico takes up 
again, still boring away quietly at Tliule. 

"The Reverend Cardinal knows as well as I do that the 
missionary effort is largely token today, and that it suc- 
ceeded insofar as the missionaries traveled beneath a 
colonialist or imperialist flag. Those days are over now. 
Over forever! We are no longer a little fire of light and 
warmth, the beleaguered empire of the sacred, surrounded 
by the darkness of unbelief. We live in a world of the 
creature who is endowed with a holy freedom and who 
will rise in expectation of the Kingdom of God, if freedom 
but be allowed to that creature — man, woman, nations, all!" 

"If we are to have no more missionaries, no more 
evangelists, as you say, how then does any movement start 


that will convert the world?" Domenico is reasoning calmly 
with Thule. "How, Eminence, are we to start?" 

"How do we begin to realize all this in concrete fact? 
Really only one starting point: As many Christians as 
possible must be aware, and must truly understand, that a 
new Christianity must be inaugurated — and that they must 
take whatever means necessary in order to bring about the 
necessary changes. And we say that there is no more 
palpable, more public, more electrifying way of putting 
the maximum number of Christians on notice than by 
the election of a Pope and a Papal policy that correspond 
to the exigencies of this new Christendom!'* 

Domenico continues to draw out Thule's line of reason- 
ing. "I take it you are therefore not against violence — say, 
the violence of the poor rising in Latin America?" 

"I think that it was our Lord Jesus who said that the 
Kingdom of Heaven is taken by violence, and that the vio- 
lent bear it away as their prize. If violence erupts, if vio- 
lence is imposed, if violence is the only alternative to a 
continuation of the present bourgeois capitalist regime in 
international finance and commerce and industry, if only 
violence will feed the two-thirds of humanity who go to 
bed hungry every night of every year of their short and 
miserable lives, then I say, yes! All of our theologians have 
said yes! Conscience itself says yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Violence 
as counter- violence. Yes! Violence. And I see Christ with 
a homemade whip in his hands overturning the money- 
changers in the Temple, destroying their tables, scattering 
their money. Violence? Yes! Counter- violence? Yes!" 

"But," Domenico puts in quietly, "doesn't love perish 
in violence? And isn't truth lost when blood is shed, when 
anger reigns?" 

"I think that my Eminent Brother forgets the nature of 
love, and love of truth, as well as of truth itself. Whatever 
happens, we must be living witnesses to the basic truth of 
our Christian belief, namely: All that is not love, that 
does not spring from love, that does not end in love, all 
that will perish. And this too we must remember — and the 
Eminent Cardinal should know it better than most of us — - 
namely, that love is tender, but it can also be a brute 
force — as brutal and as cutting as truth. If, on its path, 
love discovers locked doors — especially in the person or 
persons it loves — then love can give birth to murderous 
horror, even to hatred. Remember, the Great God himself 

The Final Conclave 309 

hates sin and all irrevocably identified with sin. What do 
you think Hell is. Eminent Brothers?" 

"Do we then stop spreading the Gospel, Eminent 
Brother?" Domenico's quiet questioning again, drawing 
Thule out more and more explicitly. 

"No. I do not advocate that we cease preaching the 
Gospel. But I think my Eminent Colleagues should stop 
deceiving themselves. We must conform to reality — the 
historical reality today, a reality that apparently is feared 
by such men as My Lord Cardinal Walker in his love of 
uniformity and conformity above all else." Thule's blow 
at Walker is a calculated risk. Walker remains impassive. 

"The reality to be faced today is that, because of our 
own Church's sins, we are condemned to a new Chris- 
tianity. It will not be a homogeneous Christianity, united 
and concentrated around an acknowledged head and 
coagulated by unity in doctrine and practice. That is the 
old idea, the, old Christianity that did not work; and it is 

"Rather, Christianity will be a leaven spread over a net- 
work of like-minded communities all over our beloved 
earth. And the successor to Peter will become once more 
the pilgrim he is supposed to be, as Christ was, as Peter 
the Apostle was. 

"The new Christianity will — as it does already, to a 
large degree — consist of a series of small centers differing 
one from the other in practice, in language, in understand- 
ing of beliefs, and sometimes in doctrine. But it will be 
united in one practical task: the overall organization of a 
new socio-political regime." 

The President is signaling Thule to pause. He has granted 
Riccioni permission to speak. "Eminences, I think we all 
realize that what our Colleague is proposing would turn 
our minds and energies into sociology and politics and 
economics." Riccioni pauses, then raises his voice pas- 
sionately. "With all our faults, let us never forsake our 
quest for holiness. Holinessl My Brethren!" 

"Holiness?" Thule intervenes. "Oh yes, the Church will 
still pursue holiness and urge its children to do so also. But 
a new category of holiness. For instance, we should cease 
talking of religious monks and nuns as being in a state of 
perfection, and all layfolk as being in an imperfect state. 
What hypocrisy! Again, that widespread doctrine is based 
on the old idea of the separation of the Church and the 


world, of Christian and non-Christian and of Catholic and 
non-Catholic, of the pure and the impure, of the elect and 
the rejected." 

"What on earth then, are we supposed to become?" 
Riccioni is on the attack. "Are we to marry all non-Catholic 
religions and cohabit with all the erroneous sects the 
Church has already condemned? Are we to care nothing 
for the pursuit of Christian holiness and perfection, whether 
by monks or nuns or blue-collar workers or anybody?" 

"Of course, not! Of course not, my dearest Brother. I am 
not advocating we cohabit with Protestantism, with Marx- 
ism, with atheism, with any 'ism' at all whatever!" Thule 
looks around with a denunciatory look in his eyes, as if he 
were dealing with the childishness of men. "Anybody who 
speaks like that is caught up in a despicable Platonist sys- 
tem of thought that sees ideas as large as hippopotami and 
collective nouns as giant clouds." Planting his feet apart 
and folding his arms over his chest, he adopts a dogmatic 
and declaratory tone. 

"There is no such thing as Protestantism, or Marxism. 
Or Judaism. Or atheism. True, there are Protestants in 
the United States and elsewhere, Marxists in the U.S,S.R. 
and elsewhere, and atheists in France and elsewhere, and 
Catholics all over the place. And if we turn around and 
consort with, say Marxists or Protestants, and with non- 
Christians, or with atheists, we are consorting with human 
beings. And, over and above the Marxism or the atheism 
or the Protestantism or whatever they profess, these groups 
of people are loaded with a long-lived heritage, and full 
of contingencies, of fatalities, of destinies, all of which go 
beyond their professions of Marxism, of Protestantism, of 
atheism. And that load of history and of dynamisms urges 
them willy-nilly on the road to one great event — the libera- 
tion of all flesh, of all men and women, from any form 
of slavery. We wish to be involved with them and all 
humanity. But we do this, not as Christians — if you simply 
put it like that — but as Christian members of our temporal 
world. It is a grave distinction." 

"But," Domenico insists, "aren't there countries — the 
U.S.S.R., Cambodia, Czechoslovakia — where we know there 
is no present hope for us?" 

"I don't think it is part of genuine Christianity to look 
at individual countries like that. It is the same as taking 
airy-fairy ideas and Platonic concepts as though they were 

The Final Conclave 31 1 

real flesh. The U.S.S.R. is not Marxism. The U.S.A. is not 
Protestantism or capitalism. Neither France nor Sweden 
are atheism. And no country on earth is Catholicism. 
Marxism, Protestantism, atheism, these are all ab- 
stracts. . . ." 

"The doctrine of Saint Thomas is quite firm and clear 
on this point," Nobili says, trying to break in. 

"You, Reverend Brother, can live with your abstract 
essences, if you will. But Thomas Aquinas, whom you 
claim, would deride your notion of reality." 

"And you, Eminence, the terms you use for reality sound 
awfully nebulous," Domenico again with a brief comment. 

"I said 'fatalities and contingencies of destiny* and . . ." 

"Too vague! Too vague!" The cries come from all sides 
at Thule. Riccioni shouts out over the cries; "You would 
have us trust a nebulous hope! Give us an example of your 
contingencies and fatalities! Give us one!" And he looks 
at his sympathizers as if to say: 'Let's see how he fields 
that oneV 

Thule, however, is imperturbable. He has thought it all 
out. His answer comes easily. Yet all that Thule is saying 
today has a very confusing effect on his hearers. They sense 
that he is near the truth, but they fear he is sufficiently 
short of the truth to make all he proposes dangerous and 
seductive. At the same time, over and above the appearance 
of truth, there is Thule's obvious sincerity. Nobody doubts 
that he believes in what he says. 

"Well, take the Soviet Union, for example," Thule 
rounds on Riccioni. "For you, for most people in the 
West, the U.S.S.R. is a static monolith. They — and you — 
are not permitted the information you need to understand 
that a demographic time bomb is ticking away in the 

"Now, many of you may not know that the Soviet Union 
includes fifteen nationalities, each with its own homeland, 
customs, language, dress, folk customs, and so on. Russia, 
actual Russia, is in the middle of those homelands. Six of 
them are European and lie to the west of 'Russia' — the 
Ukrainian homeland, the Byelorussian, the Moldavian, the 
Lithuanian, the Latvian, the Estonian. That is 65 million 
people! Then there are eight Asiatic homelands to the east 
of 'Russia,' in Central Asia and the Caucasus — the Kir- 
ghize, Turkmen, Uzbek, Tadzhik, Azerbaijani, Kazakj, 
and so on. About another 65 million people. 


"By the year 2000, these Eastern nationalities will be in 
a majority. Do you think they are going to leave the power 
in the hands of the 'Russians' and Western Soviet peoples? 
And what new democracy will they have culturally, reli- 
giously, politically, economically? You can see the 'fatal- 
ities' and 'contingencies' present in this complex situation. 
And it is precisely that situation we are facing." 

"And, if your assessment is correct and your proposals 
apt, what can we do?" Domenico's question seems calm. 

"Do? Our primary task? To work so that ethical ele- 
ments dominate all those socio-political facts. That is it." 

"How can we do that, if we stop actively promoting our 

"How? By effecting the establishment of social and po- 
litical structures that facilitate the rise of faith, of intelli- 
gence, of love — all from the depths of human souls, so that 
We may all go on together to the discovery of the spiritual 
realities that really dominate human existence," 

"What can his Eminence mean by these woolly terms?" 
Riccioni is sarcastic but not unkind. He is too mystified for 
that. "What, in sum, does it mean we have to do?" 

"It will mean a total recasting of our human structure — 
cultural, political, social, intellectual, familial, personal. A 
total recasting." 

"Western democracy is therefore out?" Walker suddenly 
booms the question. 

"The best that can be said about Western democracies — 
I realize it isn't much — is that they were founded on the 
principle that the world, and all that is in it, is the territory 
of man alone with nature, and that neither man nor nature 
have any real inner relationship to a transcendent and ex- 
igent God. Nor even to the sacred. Nor even to a devil. 
And if you think that such a political and economic system 
can lead of itself to a renewal of Christianity, then our 
differences are very much more profound than either of 
us even realized. . , ." 

"But," says Domenico with a deceptive mildness, "are we 
then talking about an end to our civilization?" 

"Yes. But not just an end. I am talking of a new civiliza- 
tion, a fresh distillation of culture. And, no, I am not 
talking of a specifically Christian civilization and culture. 
Just human civilization and culture which bear the imprint 
of the Christian way of life, and are animated by Christian 

The Final Conclave 313 

"Why does His Eminence seem to be so much in sym- 
pathy with all this destruction and innovation?" Domenico, 
still at Thule. 

"Because, my Brother, this corresponds to the historical 
epoch in which we are — the epoch which faces the Church 
for the next five hundred years. We must prepare for that. 
That is the job of Conclave!'* 

"Our function here, it seems to me," Vasari objects, "is 
to choose Peter's successor. What have we to do with so- 
cial movements — I mean as a Conclave?" 

"We have to be concerned! Because before our very eyes, 
there has already begun a vast and steadily moving process 
toward the kind of world I have described. And, unless 
we ally ourselves with it, we shall perish. All over, 
whether in China, in Russia, in Europe, in Latin America, 
in Africa, or in North America — but there less than else- 
where since it is the citadel of bourgeois capitalism — - 
wherever you turn, you find intimate traces of a new birth 
of wisdom, a turning away from rigid rationalism and from 
the cold abstractions of Roman scholasticism. You can 
trace out the general lines of a new vital synthesis outlook 
in theology and religion — the Charismatic movement; the 
rising self-consciousness of ethnic minorities; the sudden 
appearance of spiritual lights in a shower all over the 
world; the voice of layfolk in Church matters; the new 
sense of the invisible; the decline of leaders and powerful 
heads, as if the mass of people were stronger, too strong 
to be led by one individual; the amazing generosity and 
freemindedness of the younger generation; a greater mercy 
and compassion for the criminal, for the imprisoned; a 
loosening of the grip of scientists on the masses and on 
the intellectuals — as if people sensed finally what deformi- 
ties and damage this science of the capitalist world has 
wrought! And, at last, there is a general horror of war; 
and, specifically among Christians, there is a fresh con- 
sciousness of the social regimen — an element that was com- 
pletely lacking in the former Christian world and that 
today still lacks woefully to the capitalist bourgeois mind." 

"And is not this to reduce all our ecclesial character to 
a crass economism? Is our theology to be infected with the 
changing times of commercial trends and our piety to be 
an exercise in bourgeois financial policy?" Bronzino has 
not risen to ask this question. 

"No. We do not advocate making Catholicism into a 


mere pawn of economics. The very point at stake! In our 
late Christian world human progress was measured by that 
rule. And, no! We do not advocate that Catholicism be 
identified with any political system; but in that old Chris- 
tian world, political facts and social facts were regarded 
in the same way as physical facts — they were to be mea- 
sured, treated, and judged in the very same way as physical 
facts, without regard for the people and the lives involved. 
And that, of course, was amoral — an amorality, by the 
way, with which Churchmen easily cohabited when it was 
a question of investments, collateral, banking procedures, 
profit-margins, and such like.*' He looks around with an 
all-knowing, all-embracing look. "Ah, yes! My Brothers 
and Eminent Colleagues!" 

"Let me remind His Eminence," Cardinal Braun of the 
United States is standing, "that only because we are power- 
fully independent financially have we been able to act in- 

"My Venerable and Most Eminent Colleagues, we have 
not been able to act at all! You know the world no longer 
listens to us Christians. It has been like that for a very long 
time. But now another day is here when men will stop and 
listen just one more time to what we have to say; and they 
will look momentarily at what we are about. A little part 
of their attention — that's all we are getting. By the grace 
of God they will stop and wait for us to speak our mind. 
For they have a query! By this election of a Pope, and by 
the agendum we place in his hands officially as our spiritual 
leader and as Peter's successor, we answer men and women 
of today. That will be our answer to them. 

"You know: These men and women of our day have 
vast problems and agonizing questions, basic questions. 
'How do we feed each other? How do we avoid killing 
each other? How can we like each other? How do we 
create beauty in city, home, family, nation? How do we 
change the criminal's mind and the twisted mind of the 

"If we answer, 'Our attitude to your problems, men and 
women of this century, is a Catholic attitude,' then we 
have lost their attention. One by one, and finally in large 
masses, they will turn away from us, face the long road 
ahead of them, and go on trudging the human pilgrimage 
toward a sunrise that keeps evading their arrival but al- 

The Final Conclave 3 1 5 

ways dances on their furthest horizon. The rainbow of 
their dreams! 

"If our answer is, *We too are human. We belong with 
you. We are Christians, we are Catholics. Of course, our 
human reactions and passions are colored by our faith. 
But we are with you as fellow-humans, colaborers in our 
human task 1 ; then they will smile at us and with us. And, 
together with them we can all trudge as human pilgrims on 
that road of human destiny." 

"What good will that do?" Vasari is outraged. "What 
about the authoritative message we are supposed to an- 
nounce to human beings! Where is the Primacy of Peter?" 

"These men and women will realize that we do, indeed, 
have our faith and our spiritual life, even as they have 
their temporal and worldly problems to solve, and — this is 
the nodal point of agreement — it will be apparent that our 
faith and our spiritual life unites us with them. When we 
labor with them, all the shining values of Christ's Gospel 
will be reflected and enmeshed in the common work we 
undertake with our fellow humans. For our work will 
be to fill human life, all human lives, with love and to 
ensure that all alive on the face of this beloved planet live 
their temporal lives better and happily and according to 
the light God gives them." 

Thule has little more to add. His tone is quieter. "My 
Lord Cardinals, this is the general framework of the Papal 
Policy and Church policy that we think the next Pope 
should follow and foment among Roman Catholics. If you, 
My Lord Vasari, feel outraged, and if you, My Lord Ric- 
cioni, feel I have erred, you will have ample time to say 
so. But first, feel the pulse of our Brother Cardinals. For 
they," Thule breaks off and looks around, "they have 
listened attentively to all I have had to say." 

Thule gives a little bow in three directions so as to take 
in the entire assembly, then goes to his place as deliberately 
as he left it. 

Buzzes of conversation have started already. But Thule 
is barely in his place when Bronzino has obtained permis- 
sion to speak. 

"I think, Most Reverend Eminences, my Brother Car- 
dinals, while we can all appreciate His Eminence's senti- 
ments, the fact of the matter is that he presents us with no 
alternative to our dilemma — if indeed, dilemma we have. 

"I, for one, and His Eminence Cardinal Braun, and all 


the other Eminent Cardinals and Reverend Bishops who 
work with us have set down what we perceive to be the 
condition of the Church financially and economically. 
Dilemma, obviously we have not! Difficulties due to world- 
wide inflation we have certainly. But dilemma?" He pauses. 
A twinkle of humor flashes across his eyes. "Well, yes; 
perhaps the Cardinal is in a dilemma ..." he gives Thule 
a full-eyed stare. Thule's response is silence. 

"Now as regards the wide world. It makes me feel 
slightly sick to hear people talking about the proletariat. 
The proletariat rising, and all that sort of talk. 

"What we have, today, is quite simple. There are few 
countries where some sort of democracy — republican de- 
mocracy — exists. Personalistic democracy does not exist 
and has not existed since the time of Pericles — if even 
then. And don't be fooled by any protestations from the 
Swiss. Their democracy is neither personalistic nor repub- 
lican. No country is so much in the grip of a financial 
oligarchy as Switzerland. 

"Anyway. By republican democracy I mean a political 
system in which the people govern through freely elected 
representatives. The old individual regime of princes never 
attained this. Well, in the United States, in the United 
Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, 
Portugal, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, 
and in a few more places the semblance of such democracy 
exists. Republican democracy, I mean. Mind you: I know 
that democracy is greatly attenuated. Actually, it is big 
financial monopolies, enormous parliamentary lobbies, and 
well entrenched political parties — usually, all together, rep- 
resenting not more than 5 percent of each population — 
that really run each so-called democracy, just as it — the 5 
percent — wishes. 

"No one, I suppose, is going to try and tell us that the 
satellites of the U.S.S.R. are democracies — even My Lord 
Thule or My Lord Franzus. . . . Above all My Lord 

'There is, of course, the Scandinavian model of so-called 
socialist democracies. But, again, we know they are more 
vulnerable to inflation and economic breakdown than a 
democracy along American lines. In fact, socialism of the 
Scandinavian kind has never worked anywhere at any time. 
It just pretends to work for a while, then breaks down, and 
they call in the capitalists to mend the old machine. 

The Final Conclave 317 

"Elsewhere, in what are called — depending on one's 
mind, or on the time of day — socialist, Social Democratic, 
or Democratic Socialist systems, we find strong-arm gov- 
ernments. They are generally either dictatorships of one 
man; or dictatorships of oligarchies; or dictatorships of 
particular tribes." Bronzino pauses; then suddenly he turns 
full blast on Thule. "What in the name of Jesus Christ 
can democratic socialism then be? A Marxist Communist 
state? An outright dictatorship? What is it?" 

"If I may be allowed to intervene?" Buff appeals to the 
President and receives a nod of approval. The Anglo- 
Saxon turns around and looks at Braun and Bronzino, 
then at Uccello. 

"It was Pope Paul himself in 1971 who set our minds 
along this way, the Progressivist way, of thinking," he 
speaks in the tones of the schoolmaster beginning a lesson 
to particularly ignorant children. "Let me remind His Emi- 
nence and all our Italian Brothers — in fact all of you, who 
like them, are still back in the Cold War period of his 
Holiness Pope Pius 12 — let me remind you of Pope Paul's 
words." He looks down at his notes. "I quote: 

It is necessary to invent forms of modern democ- 
racy. . . . We must have a pluralism of options for 
social change ... the same Christian faith may lead 
to different commitments. . . . 

"And most importantly," Buff says, looking at Domenico, 
"most importantly, the following; ■ 

False philosophical teachings cannot be identified with 
historical movements that have economic, social, cul- 
tural, and political ends. 

"I put it to you," the Anglo-Saxon concludes, "that the 
whole philosophical thing of Marxism is a farrago of bad 
theories. But economic, social, cultural, and political Marx- 
ism is a concrete movement of the masses today — and the 
only one that promises liberation and elevation of the ma- 
jority of humans. It is this that My Lords Thule and 
Franzus are saying. Believe me, my Beloved Colleagues, 
and I know what I am saying." Buff is almost smirking with 
surety. "My Eminent Brothers Thule and Franzus believe 


all the truths of our faith as well and as deeply and as 
feelingly as My Lords Braun and Bronzino." 

"In other words," Cardinal Sargent is speaking from his 
place, "you do not sanction our American democracy as 
the most suitable form of government today, as an ideal, 
in fact, in our present world?" 

"That is correct, Eminences!" Thule booms out the 
Words from his place. 

Domenico is on his feet. He sees where Sargent is going 
to drag the argument, and he knows that he will lose the 
argument in the process, and that the whole thing will be- 
come a red herring. 

"My Eminent Lord President, if I can have a word . . ." 
Domenico signals to the President. "My Lord Cardinal 
Sargent, My Lord Thule, please permit me a word between 
yours." He looks around at the assembly. "My Most Emi- 
nent Cardinals, whether we like it or not, the fact is that 
the idea of a democracy in the American sense of the 
word arose directly from the idea of power that was 
developed by the Church of Rome in its infancy." His tone 
is a serious and calm one. He is lecturing now. And when 
Domenico lectures, Cardinals listen. 

"For the first time in history, I think, it was the early 
Christian community in Rome who believed that all power 
— political as well — came from God. And they said that 
this power came directly to the Pope, so that he had un- 
limited supremacy. Very shortly later the Christian wrinkle 
on this matter was that power came to the Pope through 
the voice of the people. For as you know, the early Popes 
were chosen by the voice of the people, the vox populL But 
only the choice came from the people, the indication of 
whom God wanted as leader* Not the power of that God! 

"It is not a Christian idea to say that the people are the 
source of the power, that power resides in the people as in 
its source. Christians should say that the people are a chan- 
nel of choice — not of power. And those early Christians 
beld that all power, political included, came to princes and 
to governments through the Pope. This is basic Christian 

"Insofar as American democracy makes the people the 
source of power, American democracy is not Christian. 

"Now, I know that the idea of a sacerdotal regime — 
supreme over all other authority — was rejected by the 

The Final Conclave 319 

rational independence of the eighteenth century and sub- 
sequent . . ," 

"It is not rejected today by true believers!" Vasari shouts 
at Domenico angrily. 

"No. I suppose that your true believers like Archbishop 
Lefebvre," Thule retorts immediately, "together with your 
Opus Dei people, the Phalanx for the Faith, the Knights 
of Queen Mary, the Defense of Family, Fatherland and 
Property Organization, the Knights of Columbus, that all 
these true believers don't reject that idea. But, believe me, 
Eminence, the rest of the world does!" Thule's tones are 
brutal and his facts so overwhelmingly to the point that 
Vasari remains with his mouth open. 

Domenico goes on. "This is the secular element in so- 
ciety! It is there, whether we like it or not. We have to 
deal with it. But let no one here propose American de- 
mocracy as the ideal. It isn't. It is basically a completely 
secular system that was, until fairly recently, infused with 
the Christianity of some of its founders and of the majority 
of its people. I repeat — until fairly recently. I say that be- 
cause any Christian influence there is slowly draining out 
of the American system. So, in this sense, My Lords Thule, 
Franzus, and Buff are correct. American democracy offers 
no viable substitute for democratic socialism or for Marx- 
ism — though I suspect the two are the same thing — eh, 
Lord Franzus? Don't answer yet!" 

Domenico stands silent and looks around. Then: "No 
doubt about it, my Brothers, every one of us, whether we 
realize it or not, uses Marxism as a scientific method, as a 
rigorous method of examining social and political reality. 
We test the value of history today, balancing between our 
theories and our proposals to revolutionize human society. 
That's basic Marxism*" Again a pause. 

"And that, my Brothers, you may be surprised to know, 
is a quotation from His Holiness Pope Paul 6." 

Domenico sits down. There is a general silence. Some, 
especially the Americans and British Commonwealth Car- 
dinals seem stunned. Domenico appears to be on Thule's 
side. The Italians are whispering among themselves. 

"All the same," Cardinal Lippi objects, as he rises, "I 
must protest in the name of that Christian country and 
people that is the United States of America." 

"Bravo! Brovol Lippi! Bravo!" It is Buonarroti applaud- 
ing Lippi. Lippi waves to him. 


"As for our Eminent Brother, he surely agrees with the 
Coalition Policy. After all, he himself said at Fatima in 
Portugal this year that he whole-heartedly supports the 
sincere efforts of the, people and the Government of Por- 
tugal toward building a new society — more just, more 
human, and more full. Democratic socialism in other 
words!" Thule is quoting Buonarroti's own words — just one 
more indication to the listeners that Thule has done his 

The Cardinal President breaks in: "I think we have 
heard enough so that everyone understands. Let us not 
wrangle over petty points. We have graver issues to decide. 
I think that we should propose to take a preliminary vote 
on the Policy change, Eminent Brothers, that is to say if 
none of you. . . ." 

"We have a question for our Eminent Brother, Cardinal 
Thule." It is Uccello speaking for the non-Roman Italian 
Cardinals. He rises. With the President's assent, Uccello 
turns to Thule. "Eminence, we all thank you for your 
address. We wish to ask you about the position of the Holy 
Father. And be concrete in your answers, please, for our 
sakes. How do you see the function of the Pope in relation 
to the greater non-Catholic communions, say the Anglican, 
the Coptic, the Orthodox?" 

"We can take the word of the former Archbishop of 
Canterbury on that," Thule answers as he stands to reply. 
"You will remember that Lord Michael Ramsey proposed 
recently that the Pope could be accepted as the presiding 
Bishop of the Anglican Church." Thule is speaking suavely. 
"What we have to remember is that we cannot hope to 
achieve universal Church authority by absorbing non- 
Catholic bodies. They simply will not be absorbed. We 
Roman Catholics have to broaden ourselves ecumenically. 
After all, already both Protestants and Orthodox concede 
to the Pope a primacy of honor. We start there, then!" 
"And what about unity of belief?" Azande's question. 
"Belief?" Thule answers. "We all know there is a growing 
convergence on fundamentals about social justice, and 
political equality and human dignity. And, as Catholic 
Bishop Lessard of Savannah, Georgia, said, there is an 
explicit acceptance of compatibility in a common faith, 
with a pluralism of expression." 

"You would, therefore, eliminate unity of belief in ex- 

The Final Conclave 321 

pression, under Roman authority?" This time it is Sargent 
who tackles Thule. 

"My Eminent Brother, the Roman mentality with its 
authoritarianism, is like the Chinese Mandarin mentality 
which lasted all of 1300 years until 1905: a self -indoctri- 
nating, self -perpetuating, labyrinthine system of examina- 
tions and norms and formulas and expressions of self- 
acceptance. It collapsed. And so is our Roman mentality 
collapsing. Collapsing!" He accompanies the repetition with 
a quick closing of his fingers to a clenched fist. ''What we 
need, we have! Believers." 

"And Papal infallibility?" It is Vasari fuming, and still 
after Thule, trying to trip him up. 

"Look, Eminence. The First Vatican Council defined 
Papal infallibility as a dogma to be believed by all the faith- 
ful. And it may be true that the Pope has such author- 
ity. . . ." 

There are some cries of "Shame!" "Shut up!" "Silence 
him!'' "Retract!" 

Thule is not at all put out. He continues serenely, like 
a heavy barge shoving its bulk through a school of min- 
nows. "In our time, all teaching has to have some kind of 
verisimilitude. Now, if a Pope were to exercise infallibility 
today, it would probably have no verisimilitude. After all, 
our aim today is to return to some of our early Christian 
simplicity in prayer, in devotion, in work, and in love of 
all men." 

"I seem to hear in the Cardinal's words," Kiel is speak- 
ing without rising from his chair, "echoes of what many 
theologians, Progressivist theologians, are saying today. 
People like Dulles in the United States, Kiing in Germany, 
Schillebeeckx in Holland, Laurentin in France. And all I 
want to add here is that, while theologians have a duty to 
study, they have no privilege to teach the faith! That is 
for us Bishops, the Cardinal included, provided he stays in 
union' with his fellow Bishops. That function of teaching 
belongs to Bishops." Kiel, one of Paul 6*s most recent 
Cardinals, is known to be a Radical. 

"Eminent Brother," Thule retorts, "I have no intention 
of infringing on the authority of Bishops. I merely . . ." 

"No, Eminence?" Kiel asks tendentiously. "But isn't it a 
fact you gave support to the 1972 statement of thirty-four 
theologians — people like McKenzie and Curran in the 
United States, Kiing and Lohfink in Germany, Schille- 


beeckx of Holland — who told priests and people alike to 
bypass the Bishops and choose their own ways of doing 
things? Isn't that so?" The declaration of the thirty-four 
theologians had exhorted Roman Catholics to seek ways 
of changing their Bishops by forcing their hands. 

There is now a feeling of sudden stop in the assembly. 
This may be the downfall of Thule, And that would not 
fit in with the plans of Angelico and Domenico. Domenico 
realizes that the only way to get this Conclave to make a 
real change — a change that is not a mere political sop — 
is to offer it two extremes: The Progressivist extreme of 
Thule, or the Radical extreme he and others champion. He 
also fears that any suppression of Thule before the Con- 
clave has had a chance to vote on Thule's proposals will 
not solve the growing problem in the Church. For one 
thing, many Christians share Thule's views. Those views 
are flourishing, as they burrow from within as a kind of 
guerrilla underground of ideas. At all costs, according to 
Domenico *s plan, Thule must be allowed to hang himself 
completely. For another thing, Thule is useful for making 
sure that there is no return to the General Policy system. 
All temporary opposition must be headed off. If the risk 
is that the Conclave will go with Thule, that risk must be 

Domenico signals to Angelico, who rises: "I think we 
should let the Cardinal's expression pass — whether we like 
it or not. He is trying to explain a very difficult situation." 
Thule bows in Angelico 's direction. 

But Lohngren bridles. He has lost his temper. He stands 
and, eyes blazing, addresses Thule. "Does His Eminence 
think that we are going to reject the institutional Church 
of centuries? What is this ideal Church he is talking about7 
Where on earth has he got the idea that we can return to 
the early days of Christianity? And, are we all to dabble 
in politics now?" 

But Thule has a word for him, too. "My Most Eminent 
Brother, you and the other Bishops of Germany issued a 
1,400- word document on June 29, 1977, and its main theme 
was a plea for the political and economic unity of Europe. 
What do you call that? Is that not politicking? Is that not 
dabbling in Europolitics? And is that allowed you but not 
to anyone else? Didn't your people say that the obstacles 
to European unity can only be overcome if Christians play 

The Final Conclave 323 

their part and take what you called a calculated risk? Why 
may you do that and not others?" 

Lohngren is ready to answer; he looks over at Angelico 
who makes a subsiding motion with his hand. "Let it go," 
Angelico is telling him. 

The last to pressure Thule is Tobey. The American rises 
in a leisurely fashion and with the assent of the President. 

"Eminence," he begins, "I guess it is the self-consoling 
habit of non-Americans to blame the United States for all 
the ills of the world." This is as far as Tobey gets. Buff 

"Really, Eminence, we don't blame you Americans for 
anything you haven't done. We blame you for supplying 
one-third of all Idi Amin's gold each year — 99 percent of 
it to buy coffee from him. And for exporting $6 million in 
goods to Idi Amin's Uganda, including $1 million in air- 
craft, $500,000 in strategically important power-generating 
equipment, and another half million dollars in engines for 
armored carriers." Tobey looks slightly off balance. 

"And we blame you for the U.S. drug companies who 
finance birth control campaigns in my country," Cardinal 
Iago Motzu of Oceania adds in. 

"And for supporting the regime which has arrested 
60,000 people since 1972," adds another Oceanian, Cardi-. 
nal Obata. 

"In other words, Eminent Brothers," Thule ends the 
chorus, "fair is fair. The whole world is grateful to the good 
old generous U.S.A. Between 1946 and 1976 you gave 
away $192 billion to foreign governments all over the globe. 
Many thanks. But what is the result? Poverty, want, infla- 
tion, starvation, terrorism, revolution. 

"Very well, we say. Now it is time for a solution not 
based on naive policies, but a solution born of the Spirit. 
And that is the Coalition Policy — a solution born of the 
Spirit." And with that Thule takes his seat, obviously satis- 
fied that he has scored very well indeed. 

The President now confers with his two colleagues on 
either side of him at the long table. Then he announces: 
"If no other Eminent Cardinal wishes to speak, or if there 
is no further point on which an Eminent Cardinal has a 
question for the Coalition Policy speakers ..." he looks 
around and sees Franzus on his feet. He nods to him. 

"Eminent Brothers, I must remind you — from stray re- 
marks passed in the heat of the past twenty minutes, spme 


of you may have a wrong impression. Let me make it clear. 
We are not proposing that we forsake Christianity and 
embrace Marxism and atheism." He shudders visibly. "I 
do not know how to reassure you of my own attachment 
to Christ and to Christ's Church and of the burning loyalty 
of all our bishops and priests and layfolk." He straightens, 
and the expression on his face becomes clear and happy, 
as if a fresh conviction had taken over in him. 

"Why do you think His Holiness Pope Paul received the 
First Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party, Janos 
Kadar, in the Vatican? And didn't Kadar praise Pope 
Paul's tenacity and sincerity? And didn't Kadar, on his 
return to Hungary, tell a press conference that Hungary's 
socialist society knows how to live together with believers? 
And didn't Pope Paul, while greeting Kadar and his party, 
openly refer to the difficulties between the Church and the 
regime in Hungary? And isn't all this very healthy?" 

"The Vatican is always ready," Witz quietly interrupts, 
rearing his 6-foot frame unmistakably into view of all, "to 
speak to anyone, the Devil included, if it makes life easier 
for believers to practice their religion. But is Your Emi- 
nence trying to tell us that an alliance between Marxists 
and Catholics had the past Pope's blessing, and should have 
the blessing of this Conclave and of the Pope it elects?" 

"No, Eminence." Franzus is quick to answer. "No. But 
the decision about such matters should now be left to the 
local diocesan and parish authorities." 

"And the central authority of Rome?" Riccioni almost 
screams at Franzus. The Electors are electrified by his shrill 
tones. Franzus says nothing. 

Buff, however, rises and is at his most cutting and 
sardonic. "It really appears that His Eminence Riccioni 
believes that the Roman bureaucracy can deal in a straight 
manner with a Marxist government. And, really, this is 
the limit of credulity! My Brothers, is there even one of 
us here who does not know the self -serving machinations 
of that tight little Mafia . . ." There is an audible hiss, as 
many Electors draw in a breath of sharp surprise. The 
blood drains out of the Camerlengo's face. Vasari slumps 
forward, his face in his hands. Riccioni's eyes have turned 
to stone as he stares at Buff. Buff has drawn the long knife 
of calculated insult against the power of the "inner club" 
that develops around every Pope. Angelico and Domenico 

The Final Conclave 325 

both make calming motions with their hands to various 

The Anglo-Saxon, meanwhile, is just warming to his sub- 
ject "When you think of that little secretive group!" Buff 
now enunciates every syllable slowly, bitingly, in a dry 
clipped tone; and each word emerges from his lips as 
though it had been leading a distinct and private life of its 
own. There appears to be nothing sly, nothing arcane about 
Ms thin, sparse figure. But, his listeners realize, there are 
subtle and elemental forces at work inside Buff, as if his 
Christianity were separate from his mind, as if his Cardi- 
nalitial dignity was merely a cloak but not a constituent 
element of his life. Lohngren leans forward and whispers 
to Kiel: "Perhaps he will throw off his clothes and appear 
as Satan!" 

"This little band of acquaintances . . ." Buff prolongs the 
sibilant ending of the last word as if it were a code of intro- 
duction to deep and dark secrets. ". . . Around Pope Paul 
6. All friends! Old friends!" He smiles around connivingly 
at the Cardinals, looking like a man who wishes to share 
something with them. "The managers!" Now the Electors 
are looking at each other in stupefaction. No one has ever 
opened fire as frankly and devastatingly as this on the inner 
club. Clearly Buff is going to name names. 

"Villot! Benelli! The Secretariat of State! And now, 
Caprio in Benelli's place! One of the friends, of course. One 
of the old friends! Don Pasquale Macchi, personal assis- 
tant to Pope Paul! How well he helped Pope Paul to wield 
Papal influence! And that special privileged part of the 
Secretariat: the OstpoUtik-mzkQXsl Casaroli and Silvestrini. 
And Dino Monduzzi in charge of all the Pope's private 
audiences, with his carefully kept books and his little nota- 
tions. Vagnozzi and Marcinkus in economic and financial 
affairs — religious works! If you please, Eminences! Reli- 
gious works! Do you imagine the religiosity of transferring 
$40 million from Zurich to New York? Imagine! And then 
the chain of command via old friends abroad. A Pio Laghi 
in the Argentine to watchdog the vital area, for instance. 
And all the other friends located in the Holy Office, in the 
Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, and the 
other key ministries. All friends!" Buff pauses and looks 
around. He has obtained the effect he sought. All have 
known the "Mafia." Many have chafed at its cronyism, its 
immunity, its autonomy. 


"What binds them all together in spite of their constant 
bickering and their perpetual jockeying for more power at 
somebody's else's expense? That most of them come from 
Faenza or thereabouts? That 'they all can make spaghetti/ 
as the saying goes? Perhaps. But the real bond is power. 
These, my Brothers, are the power brokers of Christ's 
Church. And the crux of the question before us today, as 
we prepare to vote on policy, is the question of power: Are 
we going to allow the destiny of this Church to be decided 
by their internal petty power politics?" His voice rises in 
querulousness. Then it sinks back to a chatty tone. 

"I read a book last year by one of the real holy men of 
our time, Bede Griffiths. The book was Return to the Cen- 
ter. And he points out there that no traditional forms are 
sacrosanct. For nothing in the present Church which was 
built on the original Jewish bases, nothing of its dogma, 
its sacraments, formulas, its hierarchical organization, noth- 
ing is exempt from change. How much longer" — the queru- 
lous combative tone is there again — "shall this inner club, 
this little society of mutual friends and allies at the heart 
of the institutional Church impose outmoded ideas on us 

"They have calmness and stability and relaxed certainty 
written on their faces, haven't they? You know, as I do, 
that they lead lives in a world of their own, enjoyable, 
confident, in luscious power, beautiful with monuments and 
relics, far — too far — removed from social reality, con- 
sumed in the superb extravagance, and in waste of re- 
sources on petty politics, with a ritualized using up of time, 
and a cultivated grace of dress and behavior that gives their 
lives a dream-like quality. 

"As for us in the provinces, what have we to do with 
all this? What, I ask you, Eminences?" He waits for a 
moment, then finishes abruptly: "Let me hear no more 
of that 'central authority of Rome.* Let the Church speak! 
The universal Church!" He sits down solemnly. 

Almost immediately, Riccioni is on his feet protesting, 
without waiting for permission from the President. Scorn 
and rage are his weapons. 

"I don't think any Cardinal here, except perhaps My 
Lord Buff, is going to trek all the way to Bede Griffiths' 
ashram, his Shantivanam, his Forest of Peace, in order to 
get advice on the problems of Christ's Church. . . ," Cries 

The Final Conclave 327 

of "Bravo, Riccionil Bravo!" are sent up by a number of 

"But let's forget that part of it," Riccioni continues. "And 
let's forget the scurrilous attack on Vatican personnel also. 
Of course, Anglo-Saxons have been excluded from the gov- 
ernment of the Church for so long they have forgotten the 
art of ecclesiastical affairs — if they ever knew it. It is as 
distressing to me as it is to you, I am sure, Eminences, to 
hear all that biting contempt from His Eminence. It is as 
distressing as the sacrilege perpetrated by Communist 
gangsters who smashed the thirteenth century windows of 
the Church of Santa Croce in Florence last year! Just 
sacrilege one more time in the life of the Church! 

"Of course, here in Rome we see that we are being out- 
classed and shunted aside by the dominating presence of 
the new Marxist culture — besides being defeated politically. 
Still, I don't care how many times Pope Paul met with 
Rome's Communist Mayor Giulio Argan. It is immaterial. 
The Christian community in Rome has been removed from 
power. And our Christian traditions are no longer paid any 
heed at City Hall. No matter! So, too, no matter that some 
foreigners do not understand how the central bureaucracy 
of the Church functions — with all its faults. 

"But I do wish to say, in the name of my Brothers, that 
we will never consent to an alliance, or even a working 
plan of collaboration, with Marxists. Never! And we will, 
if necessary, stay in this Conclave, and keep you all here 
with us, until this time next year, if this is the price we 
must pay and you must payl" Flushed, red and shaking, 
Riccioni sits down. 

Already, Marquez has permission to speak. His tone is 
mild and conciliatory. "Really, my Eminent Brothers, it is 
facts that count here" — glacing at Riccioni — "and not fears. 

"Take Sao Paulo, for instance. It has twelve million peo- 
ple, 1,100 restaurants, a nightlife that never stops, a 
flourishing homosexual trade in bars, hotels, clothes shops. 
A bottle of Scotch whisky costs $100. A Mercedes costs 
$50,000 and the streets are clogged with them. The latest 
discotheque cost over $1 million to build. The beautiful 
people get up every evening for the nightlife which begins 
at midnight in places like the Mur D'Hera. And, oh, I 
forgot to tell you, the beautiful people are just under 5 per- 
cent of the population. The others? Hidden from view, liv- 
ing in squalor, in dirt, in hunger, in prostitution, in servitude 


to ill-paid jobs. Now, how long can the Church back this 
sort of regime? How long, I ask you? How long can it last?" 
There is a dead silence. "But what, you may ask, has the 
Church to do with all this? Well, we don't condemn it. And 
we do enjoy it, at least at the fringes, and sometimes in 
the center of it. 

"As a human settlement, Sao Paulo has too much iron, 
too much cement, too much money, too much misery, and 
too much slavery." He stops and thinks. "You know,*' he 
continues as if reflecting out loud, "there does exist really 
a form of slavery as bad as any slavery in the old colonial 
days. And, just as the Church really did nothing official to 
condemn and eradicate slavery in colonial days, so today. 
Neither in Latin America, nor in countries like Equatorial 
Africa or the Cameroons or Morocco do we as a Church 
do anything against the existent slavery." 

Marquez has more. "Oh, yes. My Lord Franzus has his 
wounds, his stripes, his sufferings. And they are terrible. 
But do you forget that in Latin America there are prisons 
with their tortures and master-torturers? And death-squads? 
And the dead bodies found every day in the shanty parts 
of the cities? And the people who disappear and are never 
found again — perhaps they grumbled against the regime or 
tried to redress some injustice, say a rape or a robbery? 

"How long, I ask you, how long is all this going to con- 
tinue and how long are we going to be identified with it, 
because we do not wage war on it?" There are some in- 
distinct calls to Marquez from the rows of Cardinals, but 
no one pays attention to them. 

Marquez's tone gets calmer now. "What is the matter 
really? Isn't it the same thing that ails the whole of the 
capitalist system? The big corporations employ a small 
number of people, use huge amounts of capital and much 
raw material, to manufacture sophisticated goods for an 
elite market, producing exuberant rates of economic growth. 
And in doing all this, those companies and interest groups 
prolong the inequalities of the colonial period, they rigidify 
social classes. They increase poverty and suffering. And 
the end result? The money and plenty and pleasure stay 
within the small privileged groups — the 5 percent in Brazil, 
the 11 percent in the U.S.A., and so on. 

"But the people of God in their millions are bypassed by 
this vicious circle of the privileged, of the beautiful, of the 
feckless people. And isn't democratic socialism or some 

The Final Conclave 329 

form of it the only way to break that dreadful circle of 
horror? That, Eminences, is all we are trying to say to you 

"And I wish to add this I" Lynch is on his feet as Mar- 
quez sits. The President at the long table throws his eyes 
to Heaven in a despairing gesture. 

"Let no one have any doubts as to the intentions of the 
United States capitalists in my beloved country," Lynch 
says animatedly as he looks around. "No matter what talk 
there is about human rights, the United States Government 
pursues the same selfish purposes. Unscrupulously 1 You all 
have heard by now how, for instance, the major portion of 
the AID program, over $397 and a half million, was used 
merely to bolster the former Frei regime of Chile against 
the politics of Salvador Allende. It's been pretty much the 
same in my country. And, you have heard, as well, that 
the attempt to audit the misuse of such funds was quashed 
from Washington. This is just an example of the obstacles 
we are up against in our fight for liberation." 

Then he adopts a pleading attitude. "My Brothers! There 
are now eighty-six non-aligned nations, all poor, all en- 
deavoring to create some sort of socialist regime, all labor- 
ing to liberate men and women and children from poverty, 
starvation and misery. The Coalition's principle in this Con- 
clave is this: Let us align ourselves with the downtrodden 
majority. And let us effect the basic liberation of our 
fellow human beings! The future of the Church lies with 
the masses of humanity!" 

It is now a few minutes past 1 :30 p.m. This First Session 
should have ended at noon. But there is no question of 
ending now. The discussions, the arguments, the fire of 
anger, the revelations have indeed begun to forge a new 
feeling among the Electors. They have been affected by 
something of what Franzus said, some of the compassion 
and feeling of Marquez, and something of Buff's disgust 
for thQ bureaucracy. 

The Conclave President, sensitive to the mood of the 
assembly, is the first to note the new attitude. The mass of 
the Electors is looking at him as if to say: "Yes, you are 
right. It is time. Let us get on with the preliminary voting 
on the question of what General Policy we will adopt. We 
have heard enough. We have suffered enough. Let's get 
on with it!" It is as if the President felt a real majority of 
the Electors beginning to move and to get restless because 


they have made up their minds and would like to express 
themselves out loud and as one body. 

"If I am not mistaken, Eminent Brothers, we are ready 
for a vote," the President expresses the mood of the Con- 
clave. A chorus of voices greets this remark. "Ita!" "Bravo!" 
"Procedamus!" "Bene!" 

At this moment, Marquez rises to make the formal pro- 
posal Thule sent over a long note a few moments ago. 
Practically everyone in Conclave is aware of this. For now, 
everyone in Conclave is alive to any and all maneuvers 
and moves. Marquez is very quick in his delivery and very 
sure of himself. "Eminent Lord Presidents, my Eminent 
Brothers 1 In place of the now abandoned General Policy, 
we have a newly proposed policy. May I call it the Policy 
of Flexible Openness. For, in truth, what My Lord Thule 
and his sympathizers propose is, genuinely, a Church policy 
that would make the Church of Rome a reasonably elastic 
church, not wholly unyielding, not wholly resistant 

"We need today a Church that will proceed on a situa- 
tionist view of things: The view that dogmas are culturally 
conditioned expressions of revelation; that membership in 
Christ's Church is primarily, and in certain cases need 
" only be, by community in spirit, but not by conformity of 
mind on behavior or concepts; that morals be interpreted 
for each time and each place— always depending on the 
teaching of approved theologians. 

"And we must have a Church which teaches that au- 
thority is compatible with pluralism and — what is just as 
important — with human dignity and freedom. Finally, over- 
all Church policy must hew faithfully and closely and 
supremely to the agonizing economical and political reality 
— a new regimen for human society which is long overdue. 
In a word, a Policy of Flexible Openness/* 

Marquez drops his voice. "Frankly, my Brothers, only 
by such a Policy will we, in my opinion — and will the next 
Pontiff — demonstrate the all-encompassing love of God, 
our Creator." As Marquez finishes, several conversations 
have started among the Electors. 

Hildebrandt is the first to say "Ita!" loudly. He is fol- 
lowed by several dozen others. Marquez looks at Koi-Lo- 
Po: "Eminent President, I think you know the will of the 
majority.'* He turns around and finds several pairs of eyes 
on him, approving, content, smiling. Lynch, Franzus, Lorn- 

The Final Conclave 331 

bardi, Lowe, Zubaran. When he sits down, there is some 
brief and hearty applause. 

Koi-Lo-Po takes off his spectacles: "I take it there is no 
substantial dissent." When no dissenting voice is raised: "I 
suggest that this time the Revisers sit on the opposite side 
of the table from the Scrutineers. According as the Scru- 
tineers perform their work, ballot by ballot, the Revisers 
will take up theirs. In this way, we can hasten the vote. The 
Camerlengo was asked about this earlier today, and he 
takes this as a perfectly valid adaptation of our Conclave 

Koi-Lo-Po gives one last look around to make sure that 
no one wishes to speak, and then makes a sign to the 
elected Conclave officials. They come and receive the bal- 
lot papers as before. Within ten minutes, all the ballots have 
been distributed. The balloting begins. Each Elector goes 
through the personal ritual of depositing his ballot in the 
chalice, having first pronounced the ritual oath. 

This time the scrutiny and the revision procedure take 
place in a wholly different atmosphere. The voting is again 
placet (for the new policy) and non placet (against it). 
The voice of the third Scrutineer announcing the placet or 
non placet is the accompaniment to a peculiar mixture of 
elation or depression felt by each of the Electors. The 
placet column each Elector is keeping informally grows 
and grows in length, while the non placet column remains 
short and sparse and discouraging. And, according as the 
approving votes are read out and noted, it is obvious that 
a big majority — perhaps the needed overall majority of 
two-thirds plus one — is in formation in favor of the new 
Policy. Each extra placet announced seems to swell some 
volume of elation. And, in contrast, throughout the rows 
of Electors, certain Cardinals seem to flatten further and 
further back in their places as if an invisible depression 
lay on them increasingly. 

Shortly before 2 p.m., every ballot paper has been 
handled by the Scrutineers and Revisers. When Koi-Lo-Po 
receives the official tally, everyone present already knows 
the results. "Eminences 1 Placet — 77 votes. Non placet — 
41 votes. I have the honor to tell Your Eminences officially 
that the new Policy has missed the needed two-thirds plus 
one by three votes only." A sound like a half -suppressed 
sigh is heard from various parts of the assembly. 

Koi-Lo-Po goes on. "It is now past our mealtime. I sug- 


gest we break off. Dinner will be served ten minutes after 
our arrival home. Optional, of course, as all the meals. 
Siesta hour will be just that — one hour, from 2:45 to 3:45 
p.m. The warning bell will ring promptly at 3:40. The 
Second Session will begin punctually at 4 p.m." He gives his 
silver bell a small perfunctory ring and stands up. Within 
twenty minutes, all have returned to the Domus Mariae. 

AFTERNOON: 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. 

Domenico is one of the first out of the dining room. 
Back in his room, he has a pile of reading material, sheaves 
of documents and reports to get through. By a quarter to 
three, the Conclave area is quiet; all have retired to sleep 
or to confer or to read. 

A decisive conversation is being held in Buff's apartment. 
Franzus is there, as is Thule, Lowe, Marquez, Lombardi, 
Francis, Manuel. 

"The question is now: Do we nominate?" Thule puts the 
decision to his peers. 

"I don't fancy this balloting too much. Not right now, 
anyway." Buff's comment "For one thing, it is tricky. We 
have no experience in it at all. The votes could swing up- 
ward and downward and sideways and around the place. 
I've seen it happen in other assemblies. I've heard of it." 

"Yes," Lynch agrees. Thule nods. 

"Well then," Thule 's jaw tightens, "our alternative is to 
nominate and then force a rush vote by acclamation in- 
stead of by balloting." 

"That I like," Marquez breaks in. "We are, right now, 
just three votes short of an overall majority. Surely we can 
garner a mere three votes . . . and it is better to rush it 
now before any other group that is mapping strategy can 
get a chance to grasp the initiative and sway the Conclave." 

By 3:20 p.m., Angelico telephones Domenico. "You 
know what you have to do, Angelico?" Domenico asks him. 
"Give me another ten minutes or so. Then pass along here, 
and we can chat until the bell rings." 

When the warning bell rings at 3 :40, Domenico has finished 
laying his plans with Angelico. As they both walk toward 
the Assembly Hall, they are joined by the young Cardinal 
with the stutter. 

The Final Conclave 333 

"Eminence!" Angelico greets him. "How goes it with 

"Fine! Fine!" the young Cardinal answers quietly, falling 
into step with the two of them. "I was chatting with Mar- 
quez and Manuel just now. I suppose we are going to have 
what the Camerlengo would call a denouement?" There is 
a gap in the conversation; then the young Cardinal goes 
on. "Tell me, Eminence," turning his head in Domenico's 
direction, "why do they say you are against the new 

Angelico, knowing Domenico, senses the older man 
freezing up. He decides to keep up the facade of cama- 
raderie. "Oh, Cardinal Domenico here is best at home in 
Medieval times, Eminence!" It is a gauche remark, but 
Angelico has no real idea how to be humorous. 

"Yes," Domenico says, with no smile, "that's it, Medieval 
times." They enter the bus together. 

At the door of the Assembly Hall, the young Cardinal 
leaves them and goes over to chat with two of his com- 
patriots. "I don't know why," Domenico remarks to Ange- 
lico, "but I cannot warm to our young Colleague. I cannot. 
I try. I cannot." The old man shakes his head. 


The first business in this Second Session is the election 
of new Presidents. Witz is chosen as President, flanked 
by Hildebrandt and Uccello as Assistant Presidents. The 
Scrutineers are Ferro, Makonde, and Buff. The Revisers are 
all black: Bamleke, Saleke, and Azande. The Infirmarii are 
Kiel, Hartley, and Francis. Towering over the long table 
even when he sits down, Witz glances at the schedule. Then 
in clipped Germanic tones, he announces: 

"My Most Eminent Lord Cardinal Thule to the podium!" 

Of Thule it can never be said that he enters a scene 
trailing clouds of ambiguity. His physique — face and body 
— is definitive, stamped with character as obtrusive as one 
of the stone bridges in Norway. He has no veil over his 
eyes. They are unclouded. They take you in wholly, and 
their concentration is emphasized by the controlled move- 
ment of a massive head turning hither and thither like an 
armored turret. 

Thule's once bulky frame is now bordering on the gaunt, 


but the large bone structure remains as mute monument to 
its flower of years ago and as guarantee of many more 
winters he shall outlive. Few among his listeners know the 
rolling plains of his native land. But those who are ac- 
quainted with the land of Otto Thule recall and savor the 
resident strength wafting over those fields, dales, and wood- 
lands, where gray skies and rain and uneventful landscapes 
always seem to be cloaked in some intangible mystique. 
The cynics would say it was because that land has been 
the cockpit of Europe since the days of Julius Caesar, and 
armies and generals and tribes hurtled over it leaving traces 
of the greatness and the madnesses that drove them on. 
The sympathetic would surmise that, after all, an obscure 
Nordic tribe carried and still carries some ancient primeval 
dignity that neither time nor haughty overlords nor Nazi 
invaders have quenched. 

In Thule's voice which already has the oncoming echoes 
of the old man's cavernous timbre, there is that indefinable 
note — sometimes reminiscent of group-chant, sometimes of 
brusque command — which compels attention but does, not 
attract affection. Nordic also is the texture of his mind as 
it issues in words. 

And, as paradox to all this, as in every true Northerner, 
there is a purple thread of mysticism running through the 
most hard-headed of his words. To confuse that mystic 
trait with emotionalism would be an error. Emotionalism 
can be cool, can be broken. But mysticism is a dark fire 
that feeds on sources unreachable by the waters of reason 
and impervious to the bite of comment or the lash of in- 

Thule obviously has his own private vision of divinity. 
And his gifts of personality and public performance enable 
him to cast visions of power, dreams, and fears over audi- 
ences. The audience of Cardinal Electors, no less than the 
audiences of 25,000 and more he has addressed all over 
the world, is pliable to his sentiments. He dominates them. 
Naturally. This afternoon it is a deft and masterful per- 
formance on Thule's part. 

His introductory words are, each one of them, rounded 
and well-aimed. As he must, he first proposes a new policy. 
Once it has been approved, he can go on and nominate 
Yiu. "Eminent Lord Cardinal Presidents! Beloved Brothers 
and Colleagues! Our problem is, as we have said, a simple 
one: how best do we go forward to meet the men and 

The Final Conclave 335 

women of our day as they move irrevocably across the 
borders from the desert of a world that has ceased to exist, 
into the new world of tomorrow." Thule moves slowly to- 
ward his right. "Can we take that step?" A short pause. 
"No doubt in Heaven or on earth. We can!" He looks 
around. "We can!" 

He glances at Domenico and then at the Cardinals at the 
end of the assembly. "We will refuse, Eminent Brothers, 
to be left behind like old men, by ourselves, lonely, deceit- 
ful, grieving, and soon to be dead." A momentary sense of 
horror runs through most of the Electors. One or two of 
them look around at the bald or balding heads and sagging 
features of some Cardinals. Thule has used a near-at-heart 
image to convey his meaning. 

He follows with a thumbnail sketch of the "new" Church 
he envisions. The tone is businesslike, and zestful. And, 
this time, he is not interrupted with questions or challenges. 
His whole being is intent now on holding the lead gained 
in the morning session, and on building upon it with every 
tool at his command. 

"Open, my Brothers! Open to God's skies. A Church of 
that sort is what we need. No longer guided by fear. No 
longer resting on long memories. No longer in a state of 
siege. But open! All of us, bearing our message and com- 
mingling with the sons and daughters of God our common 
Father. For if we are open, we will receive God's spirit 
anew!" He concludes his introductory words with a tren- 
chant statement: "It is in this spirit and with this outlook 
that we think our nominated candidate should be considered 
as the best — as symbol and as operative — in the Kingdom 
of God on earth." 

He deals next with the principal objection to the Coali- 
tion Policy. "Some will object through fear of loss." He 
looks around in silence to let the words sink in. "Our 
supernatural values are so precious. How could we expose 
them to adulteration by Protestant, by Jew, by Muslim, by 
non-believers, by contamination with those immersed com- 
pletely in the tangible?" His voice takes on a hammer-blow 
note. "I answer: Our supernatural values are, to be sure, 
intangibles. But, these crucial intangibles are not, repeat, 
not, abstractions. The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus has 
taken place! And the supernatural is now embedded in this 
human universe!" His voice becomes somber and grave 
now, and slowly rises to a crescendo. "God our Father has 


placed his shekinah, his tabernacle, his dwelling place, 
among the sons and daughters of men all over this globe. 
We cannot sit down alone in the murky passivity of an 
ecclesiastical clam bed, and let the ocean waters of human 
evolution roll over us again and again! 

"Some others will object: This Policy move implies a 
lack of analysis. It asks us to move into a vast uncharted 
area, and not to consider even the socio-political and psy- 
chological analyses of our contemporaries." Thule is now 
trying to win over the scholastic mentality and the formal- 
ism of the Traditionalist Cardinals. 

"I answer firmly: Reality is never geometric and sym- 
metrical, never clean-cut, clearly defined, tidy, harmonious 
sounding.. Reality, as one philosopher remarked, is a great 
big, fuzzy, irregular, pulsating thing, full of booming and 
movement here and there and everywhere, lit by flashes of 
growth. I answer too: For hundreds of years, men in the 
West who were taught by us Churchmen have been busy 
trying to take reality apart, piece by piece, as if it were 
nothing more than a machine — a rationally planned, com- 
plex machine. 

"What we need is a new integration! There is, indeed, 
such an integration already born. We have to go with it 
It is of God, of spirit, of humanity," 

After a pause, Thule turns to the last and final objection 
— the objection to the political activist role that the Coali- 
tion Policy implies or, rather, demands. His audience is 
ready for his analysis. They are enjoying his words, they 
like the strength of his personality. All seems clear-cut, sure, 
prescient, guidance-full. Thule is at his best. They know it. 
And so does he. 

"Can we be indifferent to the brute fact that our Earth 
will not tolerate endless exponential growth in material con- 
sumption? Can we? As Christians can we hide our heads in 
the sand of piety and incense, and say that this is not our 
concern? Life and death are our concern! Waste is our 
concern! I say: We cannot hide brute facts beneath spiritual 

"Can we ignore the brute fact that our growth is limited 
to the tolerance ceiling of the ecosphere for heat-absorp- 
tion? I say: We cannot, since we aid mightily in the spiral- 
ing of man's race to that ceiling. 

1 say the Church lives, whether we like it or not, the 
life of our time. We have to groan and labor with all of 

The Final Conclave 337 

creation, as Saint Paul says. We believe the life we lead 
here on earth is not our final experience. But, if we stand 
aside from the economic and political dilemma of our 
fellow men, this may be our last political and economic 

Thule feels by the attention he is getting that the minds 
of the Electors have opened out to him, accepting his mean- 
ings. He decides to sum up and to open the gate for the 

"I have no illusions. Nor do you, I am sure. We are 
distrusted as Churchmen. We are in a dangerous era of 
transition, our present situation a razor's edge, and our 
future problematic — at best. We are blamed for a past we 
did not create. We only have the future to make. 

"Our institutional Church is for many an abomination 
of Pharisees — you, I, our clergy, and all. For many others, 
it is a hotbed of entrenched aristocrats — business dynasties, 
industrial monopolies, banking families, investment clubs, 
financial cartels, real estate proprietors — our allies one and 
all! For many, this Church has been anathema during long 

'Tor many others, the faithful, she has become like an 
old wife: They can hardly speak to her — except to grumble 
and complain that their dinner is cold and dry. So, having 
fallen out of love with Church and civilization, they tend 
to be destroyed mainly by self-disgust. And, in our Church's 
structure, there is a withering and stifling of parish, of 
diocese, of convent, of episcopal palace, of Papal author- 

He looks around slowly in the silence he has created; 
then, deliberately and dignifiedly: "This day, Venerable 
Brothers, this day, the Holy Spirit can renew our faith and 
our minds, so that we £o forward and achieve what our 
incarnated Lord Jesus began. Let us make our choice 
wisely, my Colleagues, and bravely! God is with us! I 
thank you all!" 

He bows to the President and without again looking at 
his audience, Thule walks slowly to his place. 

Witz, an old hand at public meetings, coughs long and 
loudly. It creates the necessary diversion. And he cuts in 
immediately: "My Most Reverend Lord Cardinal An- 


Angelico's rotund face is drawn and white. No longer 
smiling, nor even his old bustling self, the Cardinal Arch- 
bishop, former Vatican aide, gives the impression of deep 
concentration. He stands in front of his little writing table, 
bows to the Cardinal President, looks over at the Electors 
opposite him, then turns around so as to take in the rows 
of Electors and those seated at the far end of the assembly. 
The sky outside is murky and clouded, although some light 
falls on the ceiling and walls. 

"My Eminent Lord Cardinals, it is not my intent to say 
yea or nay to the forcefully expressed proposal of My Lord 
Cardinal Thule." Angelico's voice falters; he seems to have 
lost the end of his thought or some phrase memorized for 
the occasion. He is supposed to second Thule's proposal 
both of Coalition Policy and of Yiu — this is the thought 
of all listening to him. Why doesn't he? Or how is he going 
to get around to it now? 

Marquez turns around to smile reassuringly at Lynch. 
Thule clears his throat. He will not be at ease until that 
seconding speech is over and done with. He begins a mental 
check of the votes. 

Walker, as far as Azande can see, has his eyes closed 
and a funny expression on his face like a man who is wait- 
ing for his dentist to get on with it. Ni Kan is doodling a 
vertical row of Chinese characters. As Angelico stops, Ni 
Kan's hand stops. Everybody is waiting. 

"In agreeing to second the proposal, Venerable Broth- 
ers, I am mindful of my duty as Elector and as Car- 
dinal of this Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. 
My Most Eminent Lord Thule has stated that a vote for 
the Coalition is the only viable alternative in our dilemma." 
Ni Kan is doodling again. The Camerlengo throws a 
look at Angelico, then looks away as if averting his eyes 
from a painful sight or the agony of another man whom 
he cannot or will not help. If only all Italians had a little 
rational logic, he thinks. 

"Why is the Traditionalist position not also viable?" 
Angelico's rhetorical question has no sting of contempt in 
it. "Because, Brothers, it leaves us with no initiative. In 
such a policy, we choose to dig our feet in hard at a point 
about 500 years ago. From that stance, we could try, but 
would only fail more and more dismally to reach the mil- 
lions of this age and of the next 50 years, and the next 500 

The Final Conclave 339 

years. Indeed . . . ," his voice increases in vibrancy, "to 
choose a Traditionalist policy, and, accordingly a new 
Traditionalist Pope, would be to accept what is imposed 
on us, namely a state of siege." 

Riccioni, hunched over, looking at his hands on his lap, 
raises his eyebrows slightly, but shows no other sign of 
emotion. Vasari wets his lips. He is folding and unfolding 
a sheet of paper. He folds it down to its smallest compass, 
then undoes all the folds and starts all over again, folding 
and folding and folding. 

"But then, is the Conservative stand not viable? After 
all, we have a Conservative Church now, by and large, 
and Heaven knows there is change and some reaching out, 
no?'* Angelico looks across at Masaccio and smiles a little 
as if to say: Hear me out, Pietro. Hear me out completely, 
before you jump down my throat! Masaccio has a dead- 
pan expression. 

"But no, it won't work. And do you know why? I'll tell 
you why. Because/* Angelico answers his own question, 
"the heart of that position consists in allowing ourselves 
to be slowly but surely 'maneuvered' into change. Oh, of 
course with dignity. But certainly not of our own delib- 
erate exclusive, responsible will. We would make change 
after change. Again it would allow us no initiative — 
unless you think that cooperating with some fait accompli 
is initiative on our part. 

"We agree today, let us say by way of example, that 
we must allow women priests, because it is imposed by 
circumstances. Theological circumstances? Hardly! Just 
social pressure closing in on us. And then, the day after 
tomorrow, we find that such a change implies something 
totally unacceptable. 

"In other words, the Conservative and the Traditionalist 
positions have the same problem: paralysis and stagna- 
tion. It's just that the Conservative position gives the illu- 
sion of movement and progress, an illusion that disguises 
what is really destruction and regression. As events over- 
took us, we would be increasingly helpless to do anything 
about them, but could only suffer their consequences. We 
would, in a matter of short years, suffer a rain of blows that 
could break us to pieces — us and our Church. 

"The Church today is in the middle of an active world, 
changing profoundly and swiftly — more profoundly and 
more completely perhaps than at any earlier time. And, 


at the same time, both the Traditionalist and the Con- 
servative positions are open to outside initiatives — but 
have none of their own. Both are merely and only reac- 
tions. Like hanging beads, they might tinkle a pleasant 
tune when pushed by the winds of events. But the sound 
of Salvation is not a tinkle tune, nor the Church of Sal- 
vation a row of helpless beads." 

Angelico turns now from the Cardinals and faces the 
Presidents at the long table. All three are looking at him, 
waiting for his seconding proposal. 

Down at the end of the assembly, Cardinals Bamleke 
and Garcia are whispering in conversation. Walker is stiff, 
motionless. His pained expression has somewhat eased as 
if the worst were here and the tension of anticipation 
over. But his eyes remain closed. From the gestures of 
Bamleke and Garcia, it is clear that one of them is think- 
ing of intervening. Ni Kan starts a third column of doodles. 
Thule is sitting quite still, his lips moving silently in 
prayer. Domenico is sitting demurely, his arms folded, his 
eyes on Angelico's face. Domenico, the trusted realist! 

"My Eminent and Venerable Cardinal Presidents," An- 
gelico 's voice has taken on a sudden high pitch. 

"My Lord Thule has proposed that we proceed at once 
to the election both of the policy he has proposed and of 
My Lord Yiu as Supreme Pontiff — the candidate who, 
as My Lord Thule points out, is favored by two strong 
groups among us; a 'fusion candidate' if you will. Backed 
by those whom we all (and they themselves) call Progres- 
sivists — the completely open Church is their slogan. And 
backed as well by the democratic socialist minded group 
— those who say salvation is in the peoples of the earth, 
er, I should say, in the proletariat." 

Lynch nods. The description seems accurate enough; 
and the Coalition is strong. Irresistible. Thule waits. The 
Camerlengo has a weary expression. 

"My Lord President, it is an agreed-upon convention in 
Conclave that no Eminent Lord Cardinal will be ac- 
claimed and thus elected unless he has been asked to give 
prior sign that he has no fundamental objection — indeed 
he may object right up to the moment prior to acclama- 
tion. I am well aware that, even over his objection, he 
can be nominated and elected. But he must be given the 
chance to register his reaction. Is this not so, My Lord 
President?" The question ends on an upbeat note. Angeli- 

The Final Conclave 341 

co's mouth remains open, his eyes on the Cardinal Presi- 
dent at the long table. The Cardinal looks right and left 
at his two colleagues, receiving their nodded agreement, 
then, in turn, nods in assent to Angelico's question. Neither 
Thule nor any of his supporters show any alarm. They 
like this step-by-step method of Angelico's. They take it as 
Angelico's way of making sure that all points of Conclave 
procedure are observed. In that way there can be no chal- 
lenges later. 

"Well, then," Angelico resumes, but the small dimin- 
utive figure of Yiu is already standing as Angelico's eyes 
seek him out. 

"My Most Eminent and Venerable Lord Cardinal Presi- 
dents, my Beloved Brothers and Colleagues, I will wait 
until My Lord Cardinal Angelico has finished before 
assenting to be put in nomination." He sits down. 

Angelico looks at Yiu, then slowly his eyes survey the 
rows of faces. Thule is leaning forward, his eyes wide and 
staring. Walker's eyes are closed still, the pained ex- 
pression is back. Buff is gesturing to Lynch. And on the 
majority of faces Angelico reads a certain tension — some 
have a better-you-than-me expression, others a look of 
disbelief, and still others sheer puzzlement. Ni JCan has 
stopped doodling, pencil still in hand, his eyes inscrutable, 
examining Yiu's face. "My God, much ado about nothing," 
the Camerlengo mutters half out loud to himself, and 
studies his notes. 

Angelico's face takes on a look of hard granite. "We 
must state categorically that both the Progressivist and the 
democratic socialist position are totally unacceptable!" The 
words come out like hammer blows literally flattening 
some Cardinals against the backs of their chairs, stunned 
but not doubting what they have heard. Those words 
resound with that old stridency that Vatican hands had 
known well enough during Angelico's tough years in au- 
thority there. How many in the Vatican and particularly 
in the Secretariat of State know that signal of his dis- 
pleasure! Walker's eyes open wide and he stares at one 
or two Cardinals nearby, then up at Angelico. The si- 
lence is electric. 

Angelico's pause is dramatic but short enough to pre- 
clude any letdown of attention from the Electors. "The 
Progressivist view puts us completely in the hands of volatile 
and non-ecclesiastical and non-Catholic and non-Christian 


forces. The democratic socialists would have us prosti- 
tute — " He stops a moment, then, "Yes, prostitute our- 
selves, our tradition, our grace, our hopes to the one force 
in our present world that surely carries the mark of Satan's 
cloven hoof." He catches a glimpse of Lynch and Thule, 
livid and pale and, by turns, signaling to each other. 

"Oh, of course! Of course I Cardinal Thule bids us trust. 
And Cardinal Lynch bids us suffer. And Cardinal Buff 
bids us be big-minded." 

Now Angelico's sarcasm is heavy and pointed. He is 
looking straight at Thule, unblinking, no soft lines around 
the eyes, his mouth curling around each syllable. 

"Whatever happens, whatever aberration in doctrine, 
whatever departure from tradition takes place, Cardinal 
Thule asserts he can see beyond it. He sees beyond the 
welter of events. And he tells us: All is well. But His Em- 
inence can't go on forever and ever understanding and 
perceiving and seeing through. He says he and his friends 
have analyzed the situation, and he knows what's going 
on, and we need not worry about what is on the other 
side of the opaque position that he would have the Church 
take up. 

"But, I say," he looks away from Thule now and at Yiu, 
"I say: If you can penetrate the opaqueness of that posi- 
tion; if you know what's on the other side; if you know 
what will happen when we march to the sound of the 
Cardinal's drum, then tell usl Yet when we ask him, what 
will happen to dogma, he doesn't know — except that it 
will be all right, he assures us. What will happen to devo- 
tion to the Virgin? He doesn't know — except that it will be 
all right, he assures us. What will happen to Papal in- 
fallibility? He doesn't know — except that it will be all right, 
he assures us." Angelico looks around. His anger and dis- 
gust are clear. 

"He doesn't know! My Eminent Brother from the East I 
He does not knowl And do you know why? Because if you 
go on seeing through everything, penetrating everything, 
seeing beyond everything. If the social problem is a win- 
dow you see through. And the political problem is a 
window you see through. And the question of Anglican 
orders is a window you see through. And Papal infallibil- 
ity is a window you see through. And atheistic Marxism is 
a window you see through. And human sexuality and 
religious vows and private property and the historicity of 

The Final Conclave 343 

the Gospels, and the divinity of Jesus and the resurrection 
of Jesus and the existence of an afterlife and the life of 
the fetus and war and peace and creation and God's very 
existence — if all are windows you can see through, so 
that there is not really anything that stops your sight; if 
there is no place where you take up a position, do you 
know what you end up seeing? Do you know?" Angelico 
glances around, his voice held at that high pitch of a com- 
bative and contemptuous question. 

"Nothing! Nothing! You see nothing! You've never seen 
anything. And you're going to see nothing ever. You'll 
see nothing at all. And everything worth seeing, and worth 
stopping at, you've seen through, penetrated, understood— 
with His Eminence — and passed on to the next transpar- 
ent, volatile, insubstantial window, and so on and so on 
and so on ... to infinity. And this, my Venerable Brethren, 
this is not the stuff of which faith and true belief is made." 
Angelico's voice is the only sound. When he pauses, the si- 
lence is immense. 

There is a sense of some sickening, some deep revulsion 
in Thule and Buff. Lynch has his head on his hands sob- 
bing quietiy. Walker's eyes are open, filled with that old 
gleam he used to have about fourteen years ago when he 
came to Rome for the Second Vatican Council, and those 
around him said to each other, "That one is intelligent! 
He will go far in the Eternal City!" 

When Angelico takes up again, his voice is deep and 
calm and slow. He moves his head and eyes and body 
from side to side, in order to take everybody into his flow 
of thought. "The fact is, Eminent Brothers, the Progres- 
sivists and the Democratic Socialists would have all our 
theology turned into a science of social welfare. They 
would turn our moral theology into a political restructuring 
of human society. They would turn our traditional piety 
and devotion into a science of life defined and studied ac- 
cording to a sexuality, an anthropology, and a psychology 
that are not of God — and which are bankrupt, anyway, in 
our world. No! I say again: No! They will not do I 

"And they will not do, my Eminent Brothers — apart 
from their inherent surrender of all our values — because, 
like Traditionalists and Conservatives, these democratic 
socialists would leave the initiative to non-Christians. They 
place us at the disposal of our enemies." He stops a mo- 
ment, then repeats: "Our enemies! At the disposal of our 


enemies." As he repeats and dins home the thought, he 
turns to face every part of the assembly. "With no initia- 
tive of our own. No initiative, but imitation of our enemies. 
Our enemies." Finally, as he ends, he has turned around 
and is looking at Franzus. 

"So," Angelico turns again quickly, as though collecting 
himself, and addresses the long table, "so, My Lord Car- 
dinal President, there will be no seconding of My Lord 
Thule's policy proposal. Nor will there be any nomination 
of My Lord Yiu . . ."he breaks off and looks down at , 
the Asiatic. Yiu shows a mouthful of teeth, and blinks 
behind his glasses. Otherwise he does not stir. "But there 
will be one question. There is one question we must an- 
swer. All hinges on that question and on the answer to it." 
He bites his lip while thinking. Those who have known 
Angelico in the past recognize that habit. It usually pre- 
cedes some deeply felt expression of his ideas. 

"Having eliminated the Traditionalist, the Conservative, 
and the democratic socialist stances as being no viable 
alternatives, as being merely capitulations — means of say- 
ing formally: 'Let's go along with events, and let events 
decide our fate' — permit me to ask you this question. You 
answer it yourselves, my Eminent Cardinals! It is this: 
Have we any further alternative? Is there one? Or have we 
run out of solutions? And are we boxed into a cul-de-sac? 
Because if there is no other alternative, let us prepare for 
slow and sure disintegration." Angelico pauses before bow- 
ing to the Cardinal Presidents as a signal he has finished, 
then adds most sincerely: "For any hurt, for any offense — 
unintentional I assure you — in my words or gestures, I 
ask Your Eminences' forgiveness." With that, Angelico 
makes his way to his place. He is perspiring. 

During the last few minutes of Angelico's speech, Thule 
and Buff have been communicating by notes. Clearly they 
cannot let their chance go without a fight. Thule's propos- 
als must be seconded. And, clearly, Yiu is their man. 
They cannot switch candidates in mid-Session. 

Buff catches the eye of the President, and he rises to 
repair the damage done by Angelico. The Anglo-Saxon 
now resorts to a recognized Conclave maneuver: a re- 
nomination and seconding of their Policy and candidate. 

The Final Conclave 345 

Buff, at this moment, is a spare and rumpled patrician 
taken aback by the rough-and-tumble of Conclave dispute. 
"In spite of what seems a most unintelligibJe change of 
heart on the part of His Eminence Angelico," Buff gives 
Angelico an icy glare, "I wish, Most Eminent President 
and Most Beloved and Esteemed Colleagues, to take refuge 
beneath the ancient and established custom of renom- 
ination. Not only that, I wish also to point out that, all 
and any practice to the contrary, there is nothing in the 
Constitution of the Conclave that forbids us to nominate, 
second, and even elect an unwilling candidate." He turns 
around and gazes full-eyed at Yiu. "Unwilling candidates 
have often made the best of Popes in the past!" 

"Bravot Buff! Bravo! Yiu! Yiu! Bravo!" The cries echo 
and echo around. Buff waits until they die down, trying to 
estimate how much strength they represent. "I therefore 
propose the Coalition Policy for adoption by the Conclave; 
and I propose the name of my good and Eminent Lord 
Cardinal Yiu, to be put in ballot as Pope." Again, there 
are cries of approval and a few isolated hand-claps. Buff 
sits down. He is not sure. Perhaps Angelico has not cut 
into their chances. 

Lowe quickly obtains permission to speak. "In the name 
of many Cardinals of Europe and abroad, I wish Most 
Eminent Cardinal President to second the proposal of our 
Most Eminent Cardinal Buff: for the Coalition Policy and 
for the nomination of our Most Eminent Lord Cardinal 
Yiu." There is silence. Most of the Electors cannot forget 
that, just the previous evening, Lowe's name had been put 
in nomination. Some of them still regard Lowe as most 

Domenico seizes the moment of indecision, before any 
enthusiasm can start in reaction to the new nomination 
and seconding, or to Lowe personally and as a papabile. 
Domenico catches the eye of the President. He turns then 
to face Marquez. "The Cardinal says that this is not a 
Church designed for maintaining the bourgeois status quo* 
And, as we all know, he organizes people's Masses in his 
diocese that conclude, not with the Salve Regina, not with 
prayer, in fact, but with a song to human rights. And all 
this is fine — as long as his freedom lasts. But I must as- 
sume that with all his awareness of what is happening in 
the world. His Eminence has no illusions that a Marxist 
regime is going to allow him his freedom! The type of 


situation in Russia, in any of the satellite countries — does 
His Eminence really want that same situation in Latin 
America? Or the situation in Maoist China? Or the situation 
in Castro's Cuba? 

"Remember that it is not only the family and culture that 
is being stamped out there in these places. It is the human 
mind itself. Does he really want that situation throughout 
the length and the breadth of Latin America? Surely his 
own capital is bad. But does he want it to resemble Peking 
— a murdered city, a disfigured cadaver of what was one of 
the most beautiful cities in the Orient? Does he really. want 
that? Or another Pnom-Penh?" 

Domenico turns to other speakers. "I respect, of course, 
His Eminence Cardinal Lowe, as do you all. But we all 
know also that the Cardinal's tongue is less wise than his 
mind. And his seconding of this nomination is one more 
example of his indiscretion in speaking out of turn. . . ." 
Cries of "Shame! Retract I Stand down! Bravo! Nonsense!" 
come at Domenico from many sides. Thule and the others 
are impatient for the vote. But Domenico does not yield, 
' * After all, Cardinal Lowe actually said in public that he 
would like to propose a toast to the profoundly religious 
morality of King Henry of England and the holy self- 
sacrifice with which he sought the message of the Gospel! 
King Henry! And this about a man who brazenly declared 
that all brothels, all the rapes, murders, thefts, and adul- 
teries of mankind have wrought less abomination than the 
Popish Mass! How could you, Eminence, sincerely propose 
a toast to a sacrilegious blasphemer of that kind? Yet the 
Cardinal did that — and much more. I think mainly be- 
cause he is afflicted with ecumenomania. Non-Catholics 
must be pleased at any cost I Of course, if your intention 
is to curry favor with the Lutherans . . ." he looks at Lowe. 
Lowe's well-known stolidity serves him in good stead 
now. He does not budge or speak. The blood has mounted 
to his face. But he knows better than to take on Domenico. 
For, if Domenico is scattering all these stinging pebbles 
of criticism, he surmises, they must be the harbingers of 
some mighty sledgehammer blows he is planning. This has 
always been Domenico 's tactic. 

But his tactic now is more subtle. Domenico bows to 
the President and sits down. Thule looks a little surprised. 
He is about to ask permission to speak when, again un- 

The Final Conclave 347 

expectedly, the reedlike tones of Cardinal Tsa-Toke are 

He is brief, but his words are powerful in their very 
matter-of-factness. "My Brothers, before you proceed, 
take my testimony. It is simple. Unadorned. For what it 
is. Marxism has two faces. One it wears before it gets 
power. The other, after it gets power. We know. In my 
country. In my Asia. Our country is in the grip of terror. 
One vast concentration camp. One ant hill. Do you know 
what it is to live with daily terror in your street, at your 
corner, in your bedroom, in the school, in the factory, 
in the church — when a church is open? You don't. We 
do. Don't have anything to do with it. 

"Please! We are full of hunger and slavery. Re-educa- 
tion courses. Prisons. Slave gangs. Torture. Executions. 
Total misery is our lot. Our children are reared to distrust 
us. To hate us. To report on us. In neighboring countries 
also there is hell. Over 2.5 million have been put to 
death. The cities emptied. The villages devastated. No food. 
Only work. Work for all. Young girls. Old women. Aged 
men. Little children of six and seven. Churches, pagodas, 
schools, libraries, ancient temples, all are gone. Think well 
before you accept what some foolish ones are calling a 
working relationship with that If you have to live under 
Marxism, pray your faith can outlive it. Thank you." 

There is a reverential silence after this. Tsa-Toke ap- 
pears to be a living symbol of suffering, of silent pain. 
Thule does not know how to deal with such a man. As he 
hesitates before rising to propose that the assembly proceed 
to voting, still another voice breaks in. 

It is Yiu. "My refusal to be put in nomination, Eminent 
Brothers, I know, would not invalidate the nomination. So 
you may go ahead as you will. I have, however, one quick 
question for My Eminent Lord Thule and the members of 
his Coalition group." Yiu appears quite animated and his 
voice is at a high pitch. 

"Do I correctly understand the Eminent Cardinal's mind 
and that of his Colleagues in the Coalition that, while 
Marxism as an ideology is opposed irreducibly to Christian- 
ity, a working arrangement can be established, a sort of 
hands-off-each-other collaboration, all and only for chang- 
ing the social regimen and the political structure of na- 

Thule looks quickly to Buff and Franzus. Franzus rises: 


"That, Eminence, is our understanding, always remember- 
ing that, in such a process, Marxism itself will necessarily 
undergo some changes, of coursel" 

"One other question." Yiu is being brief and to the 
point. "Has any arrangement been already worked out?" 
A silence follows this question. Most of the Electors are 
stumped by the question. Yiu remains standing and look- 
ing at Franzus. 

Buff rises hastily. "I do not see what sense the Eminent 
Cardinal's question can make. Since the Coalition Policy 
is not yet official — we hope it will be — how could any ar- 
rangement have been made?" 

"Very well," Yiu answers tranquilly. "I will put my 
question in another way, to His Eminence Cardinal Fran- 
zus." He turns again to face the Cardinal. "Your Eminence, 
before you left your home town to come here, did you 
hold conversations with members of the Government?" 

"Any contact with the Government is performed through 
the relevant office of my chancery. I can say positively 
that I had no conversation with any Government official 
or officials on the eve of my departure for the Conclave." 
"Let me put it this way, Eminence," Yiu's tone belies 
his tenacity. "Did you have conversations with anyone 
who spoke for the Government or who speaks with the 

"I am not quite sure what you mean, Eminence." Fran- 
zus answers with a show of puzzlement. "Many who pass 
through my doors at home talk, I am sure, with members 
of the Government. Many of them, for all I can know, 
are members of the Government. I don't quite know what 
to answer you." 

"But, specifically, do you know of anyone with whom 
you spoke about Conclave matters and who speaks with 
Government officials?" 

"As I said, Eminence, there are many. , . ." 
"No, no, Eminence. I am referring to one conversation 
in particular. Let me be more specific. Do you know a 
man named Roan Kale?" Franzus' face flushes. He an- 
swers stonily. 

"I think that among my acquaintances there must be a 
man by that name. Roan and Kale are both very common 
names, like Rodriguez in Spain and Smith in England, you 
know what I mean." A pause, while he mutters "Roan 
Kale, Roan Kale . . . Roan Kale. . . " 

The Final Conclave 349 

"Did Your Eminence not have a conversation with a 
Roan Kale just one day before leaving for Rome?" Franzus 
knits his eyebrows and gazes at the ceiling. He shifts from 
one foot to the other. Yiu stares at him steadily. Finally 
Franzus lowers his eyes, looks at him, then averts his eyes. 

"Yes, now — vaguely, you understand, I remember, yes, 
I did have a conversation with a Roan Kale. Yes, I did, 

"Did the question of the Conclave come up?" 

"Oh, I'm sure my forthcoming trip came up as an item 
of conversation. In fact, all our layfolk who visited me in 
those days preceding my departure came, as you will un- 
derstand, to wish me well and bring little gifts. It's our 
national custom, you know, Eminence." 

"But was specific mention of the Conclave made?" 

"Other than my trip to Rome for the Conclave, you 
mean, Eminence? Oh, I suppose that like all the others, 
he was interested in the affairs of the Pope and of the 
Church. Yes, I suppose it did come up." 

"I mean, in particular, Eminence, specifically ..." Yiu 
keeps on using that word, and it strikes the listening Elec- 
tors both as strange and as significant, "had Roan Kale any- 
thing to state about the attitude of the Government?" 

"I really cannot recall exactly all the details. . . ." 

"Eminence, it was two and a half days ago " 

"Roan Kale could not really talk about our Govern- 
ment's attitude since he is not, as far as I remember, a 
member of the Government at all. No, as a matter of fact, 
he is in the travel business, as far as I can recall. . . ." 

"I did not say *your Government,' Eminence," is Yiu's 
reply, and he pauses. 

"Well, Eminence, what other governm . . ." Franzus 
breaks off and glances quickly around at Thule and Buff, 
then back to Yiu. Thule nods and gets to his feet. 

"Eminent Lord Cardinal President, I really cannot see 
where this line of discussion — interrogation would be an 
apter term — leads us. Besides the time is . . ." 

"If His Eminence will permit," it is Domenico, "all of 
us would like to know what especially My Lord Cardinal 
Yiu wishes to know. I think his Eminence Franzus should 
answer My Lord Yiu." 

For three or four seconds, Thule stares at Domenico 
full in the eyes, measuring bis strength of will and trying 


to fathom what Domenico knows, how far he will go. Then 
his gaze wavers, and he sits down again. 

All look at Yiu and then at Franzus. 

"What I wish to know, Eminence, is precisely this," Yiu 
continues. "In Your Eminence's conversation with Roan 
Kale, was there a discussion of the attitude of the Soviet 
Government to the two or three possible outcomes of the 
Conclave? And, more specifically, did Roan Kale transmit 
to Your Eminence any notice of what action the Govern- 
ment of the Soviet Union might undertake depending on 
the outcome of the Conclave?" As Franzus* eyebrows knit 
further and further in bleak knots, Yiu goes on. "More 
specifically still, was it mentioned between you — from him 
to you, that is to say — that if a Pope emerged from this 
Conclave who declared open season on collaboration with 
Communist parties and Marxist colleagues in Europe and 
Latin America — particularly in Latin America — the Soviet 
Government would undertake certain actions?" 

Now all eyes are on Franzus. His face is as stone, so 
lacking is it at this moment in any expression. After a 
short nervous wait: "How could His Eminence think that 
Roan Kale could speak on behalf of the Soviet Govern- 
ment?" The maneuver was a mistake on Franzus 1 part. He 
should have guessed. 

"Because," Yiu replies with the characteristic nasal 
sound to his words, but evenly and without changing the 
tranquil look on his face, "because Roan Kale is an em- 
ployee of Russian State Security, of the KGB, in fact." 

By this time, a ripple of consternation is running through 
the Electors. They sense they have, until this moment, 
been left out of some essential part of the Conclave drama, 
and now all are being drawn into it. All eyes are on 
Franzus again. Thule signals to the Presidents, but they 
have already given the Camerlengo the nod. 

The Camerlengo is in a distraught condition of mind, if 
one reads the expression on his face. He rises and speaks 
in his usual laconic accent; but no one listening to him 
misses the tone of anxiety and worry in his voice. As Cam- 
erlengo he has lost control of his first — probably his last 
— Conclave. 

"Personally, His Eminence Franzus has always given 
the Secretariat — as he should — an account of all his dis- 
cussions with officials. I think this entire matter is a red 
herring. We should call cloture on it all and proceed with 

The Final Conclave 351 

our main business." As he finishes, his eyes are full of 
appeal to the Presidents. He even casts a mournful look 
of appeal over at Domenico and Angelico. He glares at 
Yiu and Ni Kan as if they and all Asiatics were the cause 
of all his trouble, but remains standing as if expecting a 

He is clearly frightened by something; and each Elector 
is vividly conscious of his fright. They have never seen 
the Camerlengo in this condition. He actually knows that 
the conversation Yiu is trying to pin down did take place. 
But he wishes no news of it or its contents to be broad- 
cast, not merely because the details would be disturbing to 
many Electors on whose votes he had counted for the now 
defunct General Policy, but also because any information 
about that conversation will inevitably entail notice of 
other Secret Reports. Neither the Camerlengo nor Thule 
want those Secret Reports to become official documents of 
the Conclave. Strange bedfellows. 

"Very well!" It is Domenico who breaks in. "The Cam- 
erlengo makes a lot of sense, Eminences! Why waste our 
time on one small issue — or one small part of the main 
issue?" The Camerlengo 's face softens in genuine gratitude 
and relief. Franzus relaxes visibly. Thule and Buff are 
more at ease. 

"In fact," Domenico continues in a loud voice, "I think 
we should get on to the big issue." He looks around, wait- 
ing to throw the bombshell he holds in his hand until some 
of the previous excitement has died down, and the Elec- 
tors have stopped whispering among themselves. Domeni- 
co has calculated that he has just one chance of stopping 
the Coalition bloc. He must take that chance now. There 
is finally silence. 

"I propose," Domenico raises his voice and looks around, 
repeating his words, "I propose that the Camerlengo help 
solve our difficulties." He looks at the Camerlengo. "By 
immediately putting into the hands of the Electors — all 
the Electors — copies of the Secret Reports which his Office 
has received during the past fourteen months." 

For one moment, there is that short silence of incompre- 
hension. Nobody expected Domenico to say what he has 
just said. The Camerlengo is stunned, incredulous. The 
generality know nothing of the Secret Reports. And for 
some seconds they sit there, every mind trying to under- 


stand what has just been said, or to refashion it into what 
each one expected him to say. 

And then pandemonium breaks loose. They suddenly 
realize: "Secret Reports! We never saw any Secret Re- 
ports! . . . What Secret Reports?" The conventional cement 
of this Conclave Session has been liquified and melted. 
There are now 116 Cardinals thrown completely out of 
kilter. Several of them leave their places. Thule and Buff 
move over to Franzus. The Camerlengo has dashed up to 
the long table to talk with the Presidents. Marquez and 
Lynch have gathered a number of Latin Americans around 
them. Four Americans are speaking with lerebelski and 
Karewsky. Many Cardinals are still sitting on their thrones 
looking on the scene and talking to their neighbors. Dome- 
nico has sat down. Angelico is over with him talking volu- 
bly. Ni Kan is doodling on the pad in front of him. Yiu is 
talking at Ni Kan who does not look at him. Walker is 
sitting bolt upright on his throne, his arms folded as usual. 
He looks up at the Presidents' table, over to the Thule- 
Buff-Franzus group, then over to Yiu and Ni Kan, then 
back to the long table. He seems to be watching and tak- 
ing mental notes. His study is interrupted by Riccioni and 
Vasari who come over to him in animated conversation. 
Only the blacks and Indians do not move from their places 
and do not engage in conversation. They look around, 
occasionally smiling at each other, and wait. 

Finally, the Cardinal President rings his silver bell, once, 
twice, three times, then a fourth time more insistently 
and loudly. Slowly disentangling themselves from knots 
and groups of their colleagues, the Cardinals regain their 
seats. Calm returns. The Cardinal President looks around, 
then at the Camerlengo directly. The Camerlengo stands up. 
His tone is dry, succinct, cold, furious. 

"Eminences, after consultations with our Cardinal Presi- 
dents, it seems advisable to suspend this Session's pro- 
ceedings. Because of possible misrepresentations . . ." he 
gives Domenico a swift cutting glance, "1 think that copies 
of the so-called Secret Reports should be placed in the 
hands of you all. 1 say 'so-called 1 Secret Reports, because in 
reality they are merely confidential memoranda drawn up 
by various people within and without the Church. If every 
confidential memo and letter is secret, then I suppose you 
can call these Reports secret. I have to tell you, however, 
that they have hitherto remained confidential — or, if you 

The Final Conclave 353 

will — if some will — 'secret' — because they had nothing di- 
rectly to do with the originally agreed-upon General Policy 
of the Conclave. And, as you know, we have enough to 
do here in Conclave without overloading the agenda," 

"But now, they have very much to do with our business 
and our Conclave issues." It is Domenico in a manner as 
calm and cold and succinct as the Camerlengo 's own. The 
latter wilts. The strain on him is more than he can take. 

"Of course, Eminence I Of course!" Then he takes his 

But some of the others do not want to give up as easily 
as the Camerlengo — they have none of his realism. And 
they do not know Domenico as well as the Camerlengo 
knows this stubborn man. Delacoste is the one who tries, 
out of loyalty to the Camerlengo, and in defense of the 
position of the Left, to head off the Domenico proposal. 

"Most Reverend Eminences, let me appeal to you for 
one second of your time. I and my colleagues feel that no 
good use will be made of this sensitive material by the ma- 
jority of us Electors who are not immersed in such matters 
of statecraft and the politics of the international world. 
After all, most of us are simple pastors of souls, you 

But Domenico will not let the moment pass, as the Cam- 
erlengo knows he will not. "Tell me, My Lord Cardinal," 
he says easily, "do you agree with Bishop Henri Donze of 
Lourdes, that the apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin at 
the shrine took place — I quote the Bishop — in order to 
show forth Lourdes as a sign of service of the Faith for a 
civilization of love? Is that the meaning of Lourdes?" 

The question is unexpected and seems to some to be 
crazily unrelated to this crisis; but Delacoste understands 
it fully. Donze's speech, in which he had used this sort 
of language, had caused tremendous furor. Vatican offi- 
cials and Pope Paul 6 had labeled his mode of speech, 
"double-speak" and "crassly vague about the specially re- 
ligious import of the Virgin's Shrine," and so on. Delacoste 
realizes all that; and he also realizes that Domenico has 
set a trap for him. Domenico must know the contents of at 
least one of the Secret Reports. For that type of "double- 
speak" is part of one recommendation, Delacoste knows, 
in one of the Reports y which treats of relations with Prot- 
estants who reject the Catholic attitude to the Virgin 


Out of the corner of his eye, Delacoste sees Thule rising, 
and he is alarmed: Thule may provoke an explosion. But 
Domenico will not tolerate any interference or allow the 
new initiative to be taken out of his own hands. 

"My Lord Thule," Domenico says, rounding on Thule 
and speaking in an excessively loud, crackling voice, "you 
may have spoken to thousands round the world . . ." he 
pauses for the little sound of laughter among the Car- 
dinals, "as you will continue to do around the world. But 
that does not immediately qualify you to speak on Lourdes 
or to intervene at this moment between me and my Em- 
inent Brother." Thule does not know how to take this. 
He half smiles, looks at the President, then decides to sit 
down again. 

Delacoste, meanwhile, has made up his mind. He looks 
at Domenico for one long moment, then smiles and says 
indulgently: "I will rely on the teaching authority of the 
Church to inform me as to the meaning of Lourdes. Now 
what My Lord Donze has said, is, as Your Eminence 
knows, quite another matter." 

Domenico smiles back, the gentle smile of the fencer 
who knows that the challenge of his blade has been met 
with retreat. 

At this stage Witz rings his silver bell. It is ten minutes 
to six. Delacoste looks at the President's table, then at 
Domenico, and sits down. Witz hastens to terminate this 
Second Session. 

"With everybody's consent, will the Most Reverend 
Cardinal Electors please disperse. It will take about an 
hour for the copying service to supply all with the needed 
documentation." He pauses to read a handwritten note 
just handed to him. Then: 

"I have been asked by the Most Reverend Camerlengo 
to announce that, in addition to the Reports already men- 
tioned, he has the following at your disposal — on an in- 
dividual basis, of course. The written records, such as they 
are, from the Secret Archives of all past Conclaves — as 
you know, such records are not complete. But such as 
they are. 

"Secondly, the dossier of correspondence between the 
Holy See, on the one hand, and the U.S.S.R. and its 
satellite countries on the other hand, between the years 
1950-1976. Lastly, a summary of the Holy See's intel- 

The Final Conclave 355 

ligence activities and its results in Eastern Europe and the 
Far East between the years 1955-1975. 

"Supper will be one half-hour later than usual. We will 
all convene tomorrow after the Mass of the Holy Spirit at 
10 a.m. This Second Session is now at an end." He rises, 
as do the two co-Presidents. 

The moment Witz gives the signal, the Cardinals rise 
to go. There is no sudden outburst of conversation. The 
majority are a little dazed by what has happened. There is 
no consternation except on the Camerlengo *s face. Thule 
has a set and firm look. Franzus is obviously frightened 
and goes over to Buff who looks drained. Angelico is 
beetroot-red. Domenico looks at no one. His expression 
is unreadable. 

Most of the Cardinals leave the Assembly Hall singly. 
A few groups of twos and threes form outside, but within 
minutes they have gone. The young Cardinal with the 
stutter is one of the first out, boards the bus, and is soon 
back in his room. He sits down at his desk, his finger on 
his pectoral cross and on that ruby. 

Azande remains seated for quite a while, then stands up 
slowly and walks outside. He looks around, catches the 
young Monsignore's eye, smiles, murmurs "Experience! 
Monsignore! Experience!" and then is on his way. 

The Monsignore puts his head inside the doors, gazes at 
the empty rows of seats. Then he closes the doors and 
hurries otf. Within twenty minutes all "the Cardinals are 
back in the Domus Mariae* 

NIGHT: 6:00 p.M.-i;00 a.m. 

Through the young Monsignore and his aides, the Cam- 
erlengo sets in motion the process of poly copying the Re- 
ports, At the request of Eakins and the Americans, he 
also shows them the dossier of the 1950-1976 corre- 
spondence between the Holy See and the U.S.S.R. Then 
the Camerlengo sits down for a moment at his desk to 
telephone Masaccio. As his hand reaches out for the tele- 
phone, Edouardo Ruzzo, chief of security, knocks and 
steps in without waiting for admission. This is a pre- 
arranged thing between the Camerlengo and himself in any 
time of critical decision. 

"What is it, Ruzzo?" 


"A totally new twist to our problem, Eminence." The 
Camerlengo's expression is one of alarm. He takes his 
hand from the telephone and stands up, with a question in 
his eye. Ruzzo goes on. 

"It would seem that, as we determined, there is one who 
is a recorder-sender. . . ." 

"That we knew. And . . . ?" 

"It now seems that we have another — a sender who is not 
a receiver or a recorder." 

The Camerlengo sits down heavily. "You're sure?" 

"Sure. Yes." 

"Have either been located yet?" 

"No. But with any luck that ought not be long in com- 

"How long? We've very little time. And we have a crisis. 
A real crisis. Outside intervention is the last thing we 
want now." 

"By midnight. By the way, Eminence, can you give us 
any shortcuts — I mean, can you indicate any quarter that 
would be more likely than others?" Ruzzo looks at the 
Cardinal with those soulful, innocent eyes of his. The 
Camerlengo stares at him blankly, then turns his head to 
look at two lists of names hanging on the side wall of his 
office. His eyes run quickly from name to name. He stops, 
scribbles one name on a scratch pad, then returns to the 
lists. Again, he stops, notes down another name, finishes 
reading off the lists. He tears off the sheet containing the 
two names and hands it to Ruzzo. 

"That's the best I can do, Ruzzo. The first is highly 
probable. The second is only a hunch." 

As Ruzzo reaches for the sheet, he reads both names 
upside down and nods with a quiet smile. He gives an 
innocent look at the Cardinal. "The old and the young." 
Then briskly, "Very good, Eminence!" 

On his way out, Ruzzo stands aside for Thule who is 
about to knock on the door. The Camerlengo sees him 
framed in the doorway and bids him come in. 

"I know I should be waiting in my room for those Re- 
ports," Thule says half-apologetically, "but something 
came up." 

"It's all right. It's all right. Come in and sit down. Are 
all the Cardinals back in their rooms?" 

"Mostly, as far as I can see. Waiting for the copies. 
Some are paying little short visits. I know there is a large 

The Final Conclave 357 

contingent over in Lynch's place — Marquez, Lombardi, 
Perez, Manuel, and others." 

"Buff and Franzus, I suppose?" 

"Yes. And one or two more. I've just come from there." 

Immediately after the end of the Second Session, Thule 
had gone to Buff's room with Franzus and Lombardi and 
the young Cardinal with the stutter. The only subject dis- 
cussed was Angelico. Angelico was the danger. Were the 
afternoon's events and Domenico's interventions merely 
the opening gambit in an Angelico nomination move? 
Thule has come over, really, to consult the Camerlengo 
about it all. 

"I frankly do not think so," the Camerlengo answers 
Thule. "There's no indication that this is the plan. Frankly, 
I do not know on earth or in Heaven what Domenico is 
after, or Angelico, for that matter. But I'm almost certain 
it's not an Angelico nomination." 

As if to deepen their puzzlement further, the young 
Monsignore comes in at this point with a note from 
Domenico. Could he please have from the Camerlengo the 
Secret Archives records of past Conclaves? The Camer- 
lengo reads the note to Thule and looks questioningly at 
him, but he is also in the dark; he then signs the note and 
indicates seven large manila envelopes lying on a side 
table. The Monsignore takes them and departs for Domeni- 
co's apartment. The Camerlengo and Thule look at each 
other silently for a moment, then they begin to laugh 

The Camerlengo picks up their earlier thought. "No, 
no. I really don't think there is a move toward Angelico's 
nomination, or Domenico's own nomination. I simply don't 
know. Any more than I understand why Domenico wants 
those records now. I don't know what's going on. I don't 
know what's going to happen." 

"Well, from what you know of those Reports" Thule 
asks tentatively, "what damage will be done or what 
changes of mood and persuasion will be effected, when 
they become general Conclave property?" 

"Enormous changes," his companion answers glumly. 
"As to damage. Well, for example, I think the pan-Euro- 
pean candidacy is a dead duck — wait till they've read the 
financial report alone, not to speak of the other ones. I 
think your Third World proposal is as dead as a doornail 
— wait till you read the U.SS.R. Report. And it is now a 


toss-up between a Conservative and a Traditionalist . . ." 
he bares his teeth in a sharp intake of breath, "with even 
odds either way." He looks away with an annoyed air. 
"Oh yes, damage there is." 

Thule realizes that there is nothing more to be learned 
here now. He must wait until the Camerlengo has re- 
gained his peace of mind. 

"Call me later on this evening," the Camerlengo saya 
wearily. "And have a good readl" 

Thule leaves the Camerlengo in the office and goes out. 
He finds the Monsignore chatting to the young Cardinal 
with the stutter. 

"Well! Surprisel I thought you were going to wait for 
me over at Buff's!" 

"Oh! Just a small change, Eminence," the young Car- 
dinal smiles at him quietly. "I want to see the Camerlengo 
on a personal matter." 

Inside, the Camerlengo hears the voices and calls out 
The young Cardinal appears at his door. 

"May I come in, Eminence? For a moment?" 

"Of course! Of course!" His mouth tightens. 

"Eminence, may I have the Intelligence Records for 
1955-1975 for an hour or so? I shall have them back by 
nine o'clock." 

Without an instant's hesitation, the Camerlengo pre- 
varicates. "It is already out, little Brother. But, be sure, 
you will have it the moment it is returned to this office." 

"Perhaps, I could share them with whoever ..." 

"Pardon, Eminence. You know our rule. We do not 
give out the names of those who have such sensitive docu- 
ments in their possession." 

"Oh yes. Of course. Pardon the lapse. Tell me, Em- 
inence, can I help you in any way? You must have a lot 
of details to attend to." 

The older man rises, smiling now. He is tired. Perhaps 
they can meet later or early tomorrow morning? He ac- 
companies the young Cardinal to the outer door, shows 
him out, then turns and beckons to the young Monsignore. 
Inside, at his desk, he takes out three heavy files and 
hands them to his assistant. 

"Take these over to Braun. Tell him to keep them under 
wraps for the next twelve hours, and not to show them to 
anyone. I will send for them." 

The Final Conclave 359 

As the Monsignore disappears with the files, the Cam- 
erlengo looks up and down the corridor. At one end he 
can see Edouardo Ruzzo standing with an aide. Both men 
are perfectly still and silent. The Camerlengo returns to 
his desk. Three quarters of an hour to supper. The copies 
should be ready in about fifteen minutes. The Monsignore 
will be back with his helpers shortly. He looks at the tele- 
phone for a moment, remembers the call to Masaccio that 
was interrupted by Ruzzo, and decides to delay it again. 
He starts to make notes. He expects to be inundated with 
visitors after supper — better now to get all essential work 

Shortly after 6 o'clock, when Domenico reaches his apart- 
ment, Angelico joins him. As they start chatting, Canaletto 
knocks at the door and puts his head in. His face falls 
when he sees Angelico. 

"Oh, pardon, Father! I will come back later." 

"No. No," Domenico rejoins. "What is it?" 

"A few of us would like to have a word with you, Fa- 
ther " 

"I suggest you all wait until you get your reading done," 
Domenico says, not unpleasantly. "And, by the way, Cana- 
letto — you won't mind my saying this, Angelico — neither 
I nor Angelico is a potential candidate! Carry the good 
word back! You know what I mean." Canaletto turns red, 
gives Angelico a glance, smiles nervously at Domenico and 

Angelico gives Domenico some stray bits of news. Ap- 
parently the British Commonwealth Cardinals are to get 
together with the Americans at about 9:15 p.m. The Asians 
are all gathering in Kinigoshi's room at about the same 
time. The Poles, Germans, Africans, French, and Spanish 
are all to caucus separately. One group of Italians is to 
meet in Riccioni's apartment, another in Masaccio's, a 
third in Canaletto 1 s. Angelico would like to see Domenico 
and Azande after supper. But Domenico doesn't want this 
— it might give the wrong impression. 

"For the last time, Eminence," Domenico says seriously 
to Angelico, "would you like to run for nomination?" An- 
gelico's answer is emphatically negative. 

They then talk for a while. His plan, Domenico ex- 
plains, is to let things develop now. About 11 o'clock, the 


first news might be coming in about the reactions of the 
Electors to the Reports. 

"Do you think much will have changed?" Angelico's 

"Quite a lot. For one thing, it will be do-or-die, now- 
or-never for at least five of our beloved Colleagues/* 

"Franzus? Thule? Lynch?" Angelico looks at him. 

"At least those. But also, I feel, for Masaccio and Ferro. 
I remember their names are on the readers' list of these 
Reports. So they knew about them. And now all the Elec- 
tors will realize this." 

"And the pan-European idea?" 

"As far as Lohngren goes, it's dead. His name is also 
there as one of the readers." 

"Has the Thule-Franzus thing any future now?" 

"Quite! Of course! Still quite possible! We have to face 
that tomorrow." 

As Angelico rises, Domenico hands him an envelope. 
"As you pass by the Camerlengo's place, hand in this note 
to the Monsignore. I need some documentation." When 
he is alone again, Domenico is able to work without inter- 
ruption for only a few minutes before his phone rings. It 
is the young Cardinal. Would His Eminence by any chance 
have the Intelligence dossier? 

"No, as a matter of fact, I haven't," Domenico answers. 
"Sorry." When the Cardinal rings off, Domenico calls the 

"Pieter," he says familiarly to the Camerlengo, "a 
young friend of yours was just looking for the Intelligence 

i( Gott!" the Cardinal Camerlengo swears. Then: "Don't 

"I am not worrying for my own sake, Pieter. . . ." 

"Ruzzo is attending to that matter. It will be all right." 

"I hope so," is Domenico's thought as he hangs up. 
At about 7:15 p.m., the perspiring Monsignore enters 
on his 'delivery round' with copies of the reports for 
Domenico. The Monsignore places the copies on Dome- 
nico's desk. Then: "Eminence, may I ask a favor?" With- 
out waiting for a reply, he goes on: "Tomorrow, when they 
announce the Pope-elect's name to the crowds on the 
Piazza, may I stand on the balcony?" Domenico stares at 
him, totally caught off his guard. Then, catching the gleam 
of deviltry in the Monsignore's eye, he bursts out laugh- 

The Final Conclave 361 

ing. "Out!" he says with mock imperiousness. "You shall 
be reported to Ruzzo!" 

Domenico takes a good fifteen minutes to leaf through 
the Reports and get their general gist before the Supper 

There are only a few Cardinals in the Dining Room. Eakins 
and Delacoste are sitting beside each other. Nei Hao is 
off in one corner by himself, as is Walker, in another 
corner. Yiu and Kotoko are together. At the end o< one 
of the tables Domenico sees the young Cardinal with the 
stutter. He is lost in thought, his left hand, in that idle 
habitual gesture, fingering his pectoral cross. 

Domenico sits down within voice-distance of Walker 
and starts eating. The silence between him and Walker 
is broken only once or twice. 

"May we count on you to keep those jaws open, Emi- 
nence!' 1 Domenico asks smilingly. 

Walker nods, displaying his jowls, "3y the way, the 
Camerlengo will not be in for supper. He is cioseted with 
Ferro, Masaccio, and Calder." Domenico replies, "A panic 
session no doubt. Their panic. Not ours." 

Halfway through the meal, about sixteen Electors come 
in, mostly Latin Americans, all with a very subdued look 
about them. 

As Walker leaves, he passes by Domenico's chair and 
stops. "Can we presume that tomorrow there will be 
unanimity, Father?*' he asks quietly. 

"Tomorrow, let us all make it good, Henry! Let's make 
it a good Session. They won't forgive you for a long 
time — nor me, for that matter. But let's make it good, 
very, very good!" 

Walker's smile is his only reply. 

The gross effect of the reading of the Reports by the 
Electors is, strangely enough, not one of vast disillusion- 
ment or of anger at being duped as to actual situations 
obtaining in the Church. Every Elector, in his own way, 
has always been aware of the need for confidentiality and 
secrecy. The structural principle of Church government 
has, after all, always been marked by those two traits. 


But there is surprise. For although every Elector knows, 
for instance, that the Vatican deals in large investment 
sums, the reading of detailed accounts concerning the 
month-to-month transactions performed by Vatican rep- 
resentatives brings home to the Electors the hard truth 
that the possession and management of so much money 
necessarily leads those entrusted with it into areas of 
activity, ways of thought, and centers of interest that 
often are irreconcilable with Gospel values. And many 
times the possession and management of so much money 
foments that pride and ruthlessness that the laws of reli- 
gion and ethics forbid the Christian — above all the Chris- 
tian official. 

The Reports have, as primary effect, an enlightening 
of the general body of Electors as to the why and the 
wherefore of certain moves, both within the Conclave 
and in the years immediately preceding the Conclave. 
One such pre-Conclave move was the socio-political and 
psychologizing vogue that appeared in that period. For 
the last five years, there has been noticeable throughout 
the Church a constantly reappearing emphasis on prob- 
lems that, once upon a time, Churchmen held to be ex- 
clusively the domain of politicians, social engineers, psy- 
chologists, civil rights workers, community leaders, ethnic 
enthusiasts, and government agencies. 

From the beginning of the seventies, priests, nuns, 
religious brothers, and bishops seemed to have gone all 
out in an effort, not merely to 'belong' in all the civil 
and political movements of their region — as well as to 
be au courant in whatever psychology fad happened to be 
in fashion— but to substitute such activity for any expert 
preaching of Christian doctrine and for any professional 
teaching of Christian spirituality. It is neither unusual nor 
unexpected, for example, to come across priests using 
graphology instead of theology in premarriage instruction. 
Nor is there any surprise about the American Bishops 
organizing national meetings on such questions as ethnic 
origin or the possession of land; or even about bishops 
who identify themselves explicitly and openly with revolu- 
tionary factions. 

But, unusual or not, unexpected or not, the whole vogue 
has been mystifying for the majority of Cardinals — except 
for those few who have entered the vogue enthusiastically 

The Final Conclave 363 

themselves. The nub of the mystification has been at the 
preponderantly left-wing tendency that has marked this 
purely secular behavior of Christian Churchmen. There 
has been hardly one visible and recognized alliance between 
right-wing causes and the officials of the Church. 

Now it is clear to every Elector from the two Reports 
— the Russian Initiative and the Liberation — that the whole 
development was by no means accidental. It was not, as 
Lynch keeps insisting, a happenstance and the movement 
of the Holy Spirit, but a well orchestrated plan. 

By discreet and effectively coordinated actions, in Eu- 
rope and in the Americas, large numbers of Catholic clergy 
and intellectuals, together with many nuns and brothers 
and lay activists, had been brought to see "temporary" 
alliance with Marxism as advisable, and a certain degree 
of Marxization as an inevitable step in the road of "Chris- 
tian liberation." There can be no doubt about the coordi- 
nated character of this development. 

The substance of the Russian Initiative Report is a 
suggested agreement or working plan between the Vatican, 
on the one hand, and the U.S.S.R. as the operating center 
of Western European Marxism and the preponderant 
influence in Latin American left-wing politics, on the 
other hand. The U.S.S.R. desires that the Vatican make 
certain undertakings: To ease, in a slow and gradual man- 
ner, any explicit and formal anti-Marxist statements in 
official documents and pronouncements. To avoid any 
formal condemnation of liberation theology or of mem- 
bership in the Communist parties of any European coun- 
try (Pius 12 had issued just such a condemnation in the 
forties). To increase the number of open diplomatic con- 
tacts between the Vatican, on the one hand, and the 
U.S.S.R. and its Eastern satellites on the other hand, by 
just such means as the visits to the Pope in 1977 by Janos 
Kadar of Hungary and Hruska of Czechoslovakia and 
corresponding visits by Vatican diplomats to Communist 

Without envisaging an immediate (but certainly future) 
opening of formal diplomatic relations between the Vatican 
and Moscow, contacts are to be multiplied, and relation- 
ships developed pari passu with the diplomatic relationship 
between the Vatican and the United States, which only 
maintains a personal representative of the American Pres- 
ident at the Vatican, but not an ambassador. 


At the same time the Vatican is to decrease any official 
Roman Catholic backing for right-wing regimes, especially 
in Latin America. It is to discourage right-wing pressures 
(say, from right-wing organizations such as the Opus Dei 
and the Knights of Columbus) in Spain and Ireland. 

Finally, the Vatican is to sanction the Marxist-Christian 
dialogues started in several countries, and thus nourish 
a certain sympathy between justice-loving Christians and 
political renewal-loving Marxists. 

In return for these concessions, the U.S.S.R. would 
sanction the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in the 
Baltic countries, in Czechoslovakia, and in other satellite 
countries. It would ease up on antireligious laws through- 
out the satellite countries, laws which have kept Roman 
Catholics out of public office, government jobs, and aca- 
demic life. It promises to effect a special form of submis- 
sion by the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow 
and the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Pope as to 
the head of the Church, arid to the Vatican, as to the 
central governing body of the Church. In the event that 
the Russian sphere of influence extends westward beyond 
its 1977 borders, special consideration would be given 
to the property of the Holy See, and special privileges of 
worship would be allowed it. 

The Liberation Report, when taken with the Russian 
Initiative, provides the accompanying panel to what many 
see as a diptych of Russian Communist plans for easing 
into a takeover of the West, as well as of the place envis- 
aged by present Vatican planners for the Roman Catholic 
Church within that new area of Russian influence and 

The Liberation Report concerns mainly the spread of 
the theology of "liberation," starting in Latin America and 
spreading out northward into the United States and across 
to Europe. The essential teaching of this new theology, 
first formulated by Latin American theologians, is that 
the first and essential step in Christ's salvation of the 
human race is the liberation of all men and women from 
the yoke of capitalism — chiefly and evilly represented by 
the United States. The Church, according to this theology, 
should be the servant of the human race and of its his- 
tory. And the Church should not only allow, it should 
sanction and foment, any revolutionary violence (called 

The Final Conclave 365 

justifiable counter-violence) in order to unseat and erad- 
icate the centers of capitalism. 

The Report, Christians for Socialism, describes two 
organizations — Priests for Latin America and the Inter- 
cultural Committee for Dialogue and Action in Latin 
America — as fronts for Russian Communist penetration. 
It cites names of such theologians as Fathers Gustavo Gu- 
tierrez, Giuleo Gerardi, Pablo Richard, and Gonzalez 
Arroyo, and indicates the various steps by which the prin- 
ciples of this theology of "liberation" are to be spread. It 
is to be taught in seminaries and universities. It is to be 
the subject of Bishops' Conferences, of theologians' con- 
gresses and conventions, of pastoral letters written each 
year by the Bishops to their dioceses, and of books, pam- 
phlets and handbooks. Priests and nuns and others engaged 
directly in the ministry are to identify with guerrilla and 
revolutionary movements. Left-wing supportive cadres are 
to be formed in each parish and each diocese — always 
under the guise of Catholic action and the Church's apos- 
tolate among the faithful. Politics and religion are thus 
to be identified and confused. 

At the same time there is to be continual incitement of 
right-wing resentments that will obviously develop, provok- 
ing them into violent, repressive measures. The religious 
orders such as the Dominicans, Jesuits, and Maryknoll 
Fathers and Sisters are to be used to champion the rights 
of the people against such repressive regimes. At Bishops' 
Conferences and at various regional and international 
congresses, care would be taken to adopt official language 
sufficiently ambiguous to satisfy the requirements of be- 
lievers and to justify violence and revolutionary methods 
of takeover. All nationalistic issues (such as the Panama 
Canal, for example) are to be used; and local prelates are 
to be led into identifying themselves with these causes. 

At the same time there is to be a continuing effort to 
leaven the American Bishops, the clergy, and laity of 
the United States into a feeling of guilt about American 
capitalism's sins and excesses in Latin America, as well as 
approval of the practical principles of the theology of 

The thrust of this plan is to be localized first in Latin 
America and generalized later. In Latin America the idea 
is to prepare for the day when it will be possible to form 


the first nucleus of the U.S.S.L.A., the United Socialist 
States of Latin America. It cannot be started unless the 
collaboration of the clergy is assured. 

Both in Latin America and in Europe, the "liberation" 
motif is to be inculcated. For instance, the principal pop- 
ular piety of Latin America is devotion to Our Lady of 
Guadalupe, as the Shrine of Lourdes is in France, where 
the Virgin is also venerated. The apparitions of the Virgin 
in both places, the much-venerated picture of the Virgin 
in Guadalupe, and the miracles performed at Lourdes are 
to be described as "acts in the service of a civilization 
of love from which the cruelty of capitalism and the op- 
pression of bourgeois society is to be excluded." 

With these Reports in hand, many Electors put two 
and two together. And it is Witz who finally wraps the 
subject up when he says: "Diplomatically the previous re- 
gime (Pope Paul 6's) sought to ease the plight of Roman 
Catholics by talking with the Russians, by backing left- 
wing regimes and \>y discouraging — even indirectly — all 
right-wing movements. In reality, this politique was trapped 
in the widening propaganda effort, as described in the 
Liberation Report." And, one American Cardinal observes 
to Cardinal Artel: "Many of the social policies and dec- 
larations of the American Bishops from 1965 on were — 
unknown to most of them — deeply colored by a pervasive 
plan to prepare for Marxization. The American Church 
has been used and bastardized in this process." 

As the reading of these two Reports continues, new 
questions arise about the role of Franzus, and about his 
relationship with the Soviet masters of his country; and, 
inevitably, attention is focused on the alliance between 
Franzus and Lynch on the one hand, and with Thule and 
his group, on the other hand. 

For those reading the Liberation Report dealing with 
the left-wing doctrinal movement within the ranks of Ro- 
man Catholics, it is obvious that Thule is someone who 
by character and circumstance easily falls into the role 
of figurehead and leader in that movement. One thing is 
clear: Thule has had an extraordinary list of contacts and 
associations with non-Catholic bodies which, up to this 
time, have never seriously entertained any genuine idea 
of a close association, much less union, either with Rome 
or with any high-ranking official of Rome. 

The Final Conclave 367 

But Thule has changed all that! His strength and his 
Achilles' heel in all this is his truly ardent desire to see 
a real union of Christians. Fond of saying that the post- 
Vatican Council spirit is a one-time thing and will never 
again be generated, Thule has been convinced that already 
the Holy Spirit has forged a new unity among Christians, 
and that only juridical structures and traditionalist men- 
talities impede that unity from becoming the guiding 
force in the quasi-ultimate form of the Church that Jesus 

Over a period of ten years, Thule, in his personal con- 
tacts, has established privately with many non-Catholic 
Christian leaders the bases on which that unity could be 
achieved. The purpose was not to attain a complete or 
even general conformity in belief and worship and govern- 
ing Church structures. Thule is and always has been too 
much of a realist to think that this could be achieved now 
or in the foreseeable future. Each Church, in fact, is to 
retain its present format, he has said, and its own formu- 
lation of belief. 

The chief obstacle of everything in the Liberation plan 
is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome as the traditional head 
of the Roman Church — his primacy of teaching author- 
ity, his infallibility in teaching authority, and his primacy 
of governing jurisdiction. 

Most of Thule's contacts in other Churches have agreed 
that the Bishop of Rome should have — by force of mere 
historical longevity — a certain primacy of honor: That 
is, the Pope would be and should be accepted as the pre- 
siding Bishop (in Churches with an episcopal structure) 
or as presiding elder (in non-episcopally structured 

There would be no requirement to accept any Roman 
dogmas defined or accepted in the West after the first six 
Councils (the cut-off point would be around the end of 
the seventh century). This would rule out all Roman 
dogmas about the Papacy, about the Virgin, about the 
Eucharist, about the clergy (celibate and male), and about 
political liberties and personal property. 

Thule has maintained close ties with many theologians 
in Europe and the Americas who have done pioneer 
work in the area of the beliefs that are acceptable on a 
wide scale to non-Catholic Christians. 


In addition to all this, Thule has envisaged, with his 
non-Roman brothers as well as with the Progressivist theo- 
logians, the creation of a new Vatican Ministry, or Con- 
gregation as all ministries are called in Rome. It will be 
composed of an international team of theologians and will 
include non-Catholics. This body will have legislative and 
normative — that is, not merely advisory — power within 
the Church in dealing with doctrine and discipline. There 
will be, according to the new ecumenism of the Thule 
plan, a fresh effort to set up common modes of worship, 
the tendency and aim being to transform the Roman 
Catholic Mass ceremony into something acceptable to a 
wide range of non-Catholic believers. This is the type 
of open Church which is calculated to allow "the maximum 
liberty to the Spirit of Christ/' to quote a phrase from the 

If this Church policy were wedded to the socio-political 
doctrine and action outlined in the Russian proposals, 
then it becomes a plan for Christianity to operate "free" 
of any "entrapment in outmoded social systems and deca- 
dent forms of the Church which have become ossified and 
unpopular and ineffectual." 

The effect of the alliance between Franzus and Lynch 
and the Thule group becomes painfully clear in the light 
of these documents. 

The two other Secret Reports are equally relevant in 
their own way. One concerns Vatican dealings with the 
Italian Communist Party (PCI). The other concerns the 
financial condition of the Vatican as well as projections 
of Vatican finances. 

It is clear from the second of these Reports that the 
present Vatican Administration had tied Vatican finances 
to the fortunes of the United States economy and to the 
idea of a trilateral system — United States, Japan, Saudi 
Arabia — as the way in which the inflation and recession 
of the eighties is to be over-reached and survived. 

Several Electors, notably the Asians, now underline the 
fact that the shift of Vatican investments begun in the 
late sixties and early seventies under the direction of the 
Italian financier, Michele Sindona, is not yet completed; 
that it is an ongoing affair. Four of the Asians go over 
to Bonkowski's apartment in order to get answers to some 
questions. Why the shift anyway? What was the fear? 

The Final Conclave 369 

Bonkowski has the reputation in the Roman Curia of 
knowing most things, but of having only rarely spoken 
about anything at any great length. 

This time, however, he makes an exception. He points 
out that once already in this century the Holy See faced 
bankruptcy as an imminent possibility. By the late 1920s 
Vatican finances were in a sorry state. The first real audit 
in history of total Vatican wealth was carried out by Mon- 
signore Dominic Mariana, who reported to Pope Pius 1 1 in 
1928 that the Vatican was shaving very close to bank- 
ruptcy. A $1.5 million loan in twenty-year bonds arranged 
that same year by Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago (with 
Chicago Church property valued at several millions of 
dollars as collateral) staved of! the feared bankruptcy; 
and in 1929 the Lateran Pact was signed with the Italian 
Government of Mussolini. 

In that Pact, $90 million was granted to the Vatican 
by Mussolini's Government as indemnity for the properties 
which the Vatican had been deprived of by the Italians in 
1870. This sum was confided for handling and investing 
to the almost genius-like mind of a man named Bernar- 
dino Nogara. He parlayed the sum into a huge financial 
empire which has conferred on the Vatican realizable 
assets more or less equal to the official gold and foreign 
exchange reserves of France, plus at least $2 billion of 
securities on the New York Stock Exchange, and a cor- 
porate wealth on the very sunny side of $20 billion. 
Between then and now, Vatican investments penetrated 
into every sector of the Italian economy as well as abroad. 

By the beginning of the seventies it was clear that the 
economies of Europe were going downhill, and that polit- 
ically Europe would be ready for Russian penetration to- 
ward the end of the decade. The Vatican had no inten- 
tion of going bankrupt. 

Then by 1973-74, Bonkowski goes on, it was clear that 
Saudi Arabia was on its way to exercising a super-power 
role in the fields of international finance and politics — 
all based on its unbeatable and seemingly inexhaustible 
sources of oil. United States policy in the meanwhile started 
to hew very closely to the rising role of Saudi Arabia. The 
United States no longer had any need to maintain a 
primacy of position and leadership in Western Europe. 
New markets must be sought and won in Africa and 


"The other Report on dealings with the PCI and the 
Vatican," Bonkowski concludes, "has its relevance here. 
If, as is projected, the economy of Western Europe cannot 
be bolstered, and if the Vatican is to be closely associated 
with the trilateral combination of the United States, Japan, 
and Saudi Arabia; and if, at the same time, the United 
States diminishes its interest and influence in Italy and 
Europe, then almost certainly — of course at the right 
time and never as a shock or surprise — the government of 
Italy will be partially peopled with Marxist ministers, and 
will eventually be Marxist not only in its ministerial com- 
position but in its policies. But the Vatican remains, and 
shall remain in Italy. Hence the discussions with the PCI." 

"No," Bonkowski answers one remark, "it is not really 
schizophrenic; it only appears so, if one does not see the 
enormous shifts taking place in geopolitics." 

The main items in the PCI's offer to the Vatican are 
simple and direct. If the Vatican will withdraw its tradi- 
tional support — financial and moral — for the Democris- 
tians (DC), and if it will go easy on official attacks on 
Communism as a system of economics, then when and if 
the PCI acquires preponderance and control in the Italian 
Government, the PCI will guarantee three main advan- 
tages for the Vatican: possession and power over its prop- 
erties in Rome and throughout Italy; freedom to maintain 
and propagate its present financial plans and investments 
abroad; and freedom to teach and preach as its conscience 

The Asians, who have seen all this before in the Far 
East, are satisfied that they understand what has hap- 
pened. They know the process, once started, is irreversible. 
"Not pessimism," Ni Kan remarks. "Realism! Your Emi- 
nence." And they depart. 

But there is a violent debate about all this among various 
Italian groups meeting. "I don't care if Angelico or any- 
one else says 'the Communist hue will emerge from the 
European cauldron a pale shade of pink' — or whatever 
hue you wish to choose!" Nolasco exclaims to those around 
him in Masaccio's apartment. "They said that about the 
Chinese — how could the anciently cultured Chinese, how 
could they be Marxized. And about the gentle Cambodians. 
And the simple Laotians. And the sweet Vietnamese. And, 
believe me; today it's all a bloody, bloody, red, red, color I 
Why should the Europeans be any different?" 

The Final Conclave 371 

"How on earth can they imagine a Communist regime 
in Italy — especially if it is flanked by similar regimes in 
France, Spain, and Portugal, and backed up by a more 
westerly sphere of Russian influence affecting West Ger- 
many, Switzerland, and the Benelux countries? How can 
they even imagine such an Italian Communist regime to 
respect any commitments?" Canaletto is incredulous. And 
his question is very practical. 

"It sounds contradictory and foolhardy, I know," Bron- 
zino responds, "but that is the way it most probably would 
turn out in such an hypothesis." He goes on: "We are 
realists. All the plans, you must remember, are just plans. 
There is a struggle going on right now. There is a crisis 
affecting everybody. It must be resolved. Someone is going 
to lose. Someone is going to win. If, as now seems likely, 
the PCI wins out — and Communist parties elsewhere win 
out — they too will be realists. Just as the hard-nosed Amer- 
icans are realists and have decided to cut bait from Europe 
finally. After all, the masters of all Communists, the Rus- 
sians, will only allow local Communist parties to take 
over aggressively when the time is ripe. Now, they are 
going to estimate the ripeness of the time in purely eco- 
nomic terms — when it suits them best, when they need it. 
Not before that. Not later than that. As far as we can 
judge, this should be somewhere in the first five years 
of the next decade; between 1980 and 1985. Or there- 
abouts. It is very obvious that even in this configuration, 
the Russian dominated economies of Europe will need 
outside trading partners. And, as a financial investor of 
international stature, the Vatican has a role it can play 
in that configuration — it will be resident within a Russian 
orbit but have its financial sinews outside. . . ." 

By mid-evening, to Domenico's surprise and to the puzzle- 
ment of the Camerlengo and his associates, there has been 
very little coming and going between the various caucuses. 
Domenico is content with this, because for him it means 
that the Electors are making up their own minds on the 
basis of the new information supplied them. 

The Thule-Franzus-BufT group appears only vaguely 
dissatisfied. For they feel that, on balance, the close asso- 
ciation of Vatican political and financial policy with the 


United States will tell against those who oppose them, 
and will draw a massive Third World vote in their direc- 

Everybody notes sedulously that the blacks and the 
Asians have remained very quiet on the whole. They have 
not been on the rounds seeing the Europeans or the Latin 

By 10:45 p.m. still not much has happened. Angelico 
phones Domenico to get his feeling about it all. Angelico 
is nervous. "Sit tight," Domenico advises. "Don't do any- 
thing at all. They know where we are." 

As the evening progresses, Buff and Lombardi and 
Franzus, particularly the latter, begin to hope for some 
reactions from the Electors. Franzus* name has come up 
again and again in the Russian Initiative Report, both as 
sounding-board used by the Russians, and as advisor to the 
members of the Vatican Secretariat of State who deal with 
Soviet Eastern Europe. And the tenor of his memoranda 
and messages to the Vatican Secretariat of State are all 
favorable toward the conclusion of some sort of agreement 
with the Russians. Near 11 o'clock, Buff and Lombardi 
set out to visit the main caucuses. They know that the 
blacks and Asians finished up in one caucus over in Ma- 
konde's apartment, so they head over there. 

When they knock at Makonde's door they find that 
the African is in bed already. He insists, however, that 
they come in. He quickly dons a large, red dressing gown 
and slippers to match. Buff and Lombardi are somewhat 
mystified. Makonde tells them that the African-Asian 
caucus broke up about half an hour ago, the members 
deciding it was time to go to bed. 

"None of us could see an alternative," Makonde con- 
cludes, as if accounting for the end of the caucus. "We 
realized that no Cardinal among us has an alternative. So, 
instead of wasting more time, we decided to retire." 

"Alternative to what?" Buff and Lombardi ask almost 
simultaneously. The African looks at them both, extending 
both his arms, palms cupped upward. 

"Here . . ." looking at his right hand, "we have the 
Conservative-Traditionalist. Here . . ." looking at his left 
hand, "we have the Progressivist. As are these' two sep- 
arate hands and arms of mine, both of them are attached 
to a body. Commands for them come from that body — 

The Final Conclave 373 

directions, force, behavior, all from that body/' He drops 
his arms to his knees. "Both are attached to a body of 
politics, finance, economics, governmental systems, lobbies, 
special interests, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." Makonde 
repeats the words as if they were specific and loaded with 
significance. "And in between those two alternatives, Broth- 
ers, there is no other alternative. Only emptiness among 
us all So now, what sort of a chance is that for our suc- 
cess? Must we decide to be capitalists or to be Communists, 
or at least to be the pawn of either — or of both, which is 
worse? Whether we like it or not?" 

Buff and Lombardi rise, as Makonde rises. "So the 
Japanese Cardinal," Makonde continues in a half-cajoling, 
half-sleepy voice, "and the Philippine Cardinals, and the 
Indian Cardinals, and the Vietnam Cardinal, and the 
Oceanic Cardinals, and ourselves, we decided to wait and 
pray, Brothers. And sleep." He smiles like a big elder 
brother, as he shows them out. 

"It's all right," Lombardi says to Buff as they walk 
away. "It's all right. We have an open field there." 

The next stop for them is at the large Third World 
caucus. Marquez is not there. Neither is Perez, nor Ma- 
nuel. They, are over with the Camerlengo. There are three 
older Cardinals (Navarro, Tacci, and Zubaran); three 
younger ones (Herrera, Sampere, and Mauderer); and, 
also, Ribera, LaMura, and Teofilo. 

As Buff and Lombardi enter, Ribera is being questioned 
about a certain Father Roger Vekemans, a Belgian Jesuit, 
an information expert, who is cited as one of the sources 
for the Liberation Report, 

"Didn't he get $5 million from the CIA in the 1960s 
to be used against the Marxists in Chile and elsewhere?" 
is one objection. Ribera waves aside all objections to 
Vekemans. He lists other sources for the Report — includ- 
ing Colombian Bishops Lopez Trujillo and Mario Revollo 
of Bogota, and Dario Castrillon of Pereira, among others. 

"Furthermore," Ribera hurls the challenge back, "if 
you object to the way people like Vekemans and Lopez 
Trujillo work with politically involved laymen like Dr. 
German Bravo (former Colombian planner) or sociologist 
Dr. Nernando Bernal, or Dr. Rodrigo Escobar (director 
of ASOCANA, the Colombian sugar cane growers asso- 
ciation) then why don't you also object, or didn't you ob- 
ject, to the close relationship between those 'liberation 1 


theologians of yours with Chile's Marxist dictator, Salva- 
dor Allende? Or with Hortense, Allende's widow, who's 
such a great ally of Fidel Castro? Or with Orlando Letelier, 
whom we all know as Allende's propaganda minister and 
Castro agent in the United States until he was assassi- 
nated in 1977? Or with any of who knows how many other 
well-known Communist collaborators, workers, and fellow- 
travellers? Be careful!" Ribera warns them. "You will be 
hung by the same petard. And justly so." 

"My Brothers," Lombardi is finally able to get a word 
in, "before we go to bed tonight, we would like to find 
out your reactions to the Reports." 

The Latin American tells him in plain terms. "It seems," 
they say, "that between the capitalist and United States- 
oriented Vatican policy and the Marxist-sympathizing atti- 
tude of many Roman Catholic clergymen, there is no 
choice — no alternative for the Church but to be torn in 
two by secular interests,'* Herrera adds the same note 
as Makonde a few moments before: "We Church leaders 
have run out of initiatives. Perhaps we never had any of 
our own. At least not for a very long time." 

When Lombardi and Buff leave they are not feeling 
very happy now that they meet this second occurrence of 
the same vagueness. 

Back in Buff's apartment, they find Thule with Marquez, 
Perez, and Manuel. As far as they can judge from Thule 's 
account, the Camerlengo has no intention of taking any 
action whatever of a direct kind at tomorrow's meeting. 
"The only thing he was close-mouthed about," Marquez 
adds, "was the reaction of the Americans. Seems that the 
Americans have been studying the correspondence of the 
U.S.S.R.-Vatican. It has had its effect. What, 1 don't know. 
And the Camerlengo will not say. Would not say." 

"Vague. All too vague for peace of mind/' 

Around midnight, Domenico telephones Angelico and 
asks him to step over to his apartment. When Angelico 
arrives there, he finds the Camerlengo, Lohngren, Ribera, 
Pellino, and Eck already in conference with Domenico. 
Angelico senses the silent dislike of the Camerlengo and 
others. He ignores it, but he has the clear impression 
that they have just been discussing him. ObviousJy, Dome- 
nico has called him over merely to include him in the 

The Final Conclave 375 

meeting. This at least is a good sign. If the conversation 
had gone really badly against him, Angelico would not 
have been invited. In the same way, the fact that he ac- 
cepted the invitation is a sign for the Camerlengo. Con- 
clave convention forbids an aspiring and explicitly com- 
mitted papabile to enter any group without identifying 
himself as such. Angelico does not, because he is not. 

They fill Angelico in on the general poll they have taken. 
There is some unexpected spirit of independence — both of 
particular Electors and of individual groups of Electors. 
It must be reckoned with; it has surfaced. They cannot 
predict its direction. The Italians are, on the whole, very 
angry, feeling that the administration of Pope Paul 6 
went much further than they were allowed to know in its 
approach and appeasement of the Marxists in Italy and in 
Russia. The French are apparently still very much on the 
left-wing, but are susceptible to any move by the Camer- 
lengo, They have almost (but not quite) as much objec- 
tion to Russian influence as they have to American influ- 
ence. Neither the Germans nor the Spaniards are now in 
favor of a pan-European candidacy. The Eastern Euro- 
peans have an "I-told-you-so" attitude and a "we've-been- 
through-it-already" reaction to all talk of a Third World 
solution to the Conclave's problem. Ribera asserts that the 
Electors now realize the concrete issues. "And," the Cam- 
erlengo adds tartly, "one thing is now possible: a three- 
month Conclave with a rough-and-tumble deadlock and 
a completely unpredictable outcome." 

There seems no way to gauge what will happen. Before 
long the general discussion dies down, and most of the 
group departs. The Camerlengo remains with Domenico. 

The Camerlengo confides in Domenico about the secu- 
rity problems. We do not know, he explains, if the one 
man is aware of the fact — we suspect that he suspects; 
but anyway, he has some implant which records and 
transmits. No, he answers to Domenico's question. We 
plan to do nothing about it now— except to keep our 
mouths shut when speaking in his presence privately. To 
do anything more might endanger the man's life or the 
lives of several people in his own country and elsewhere. 

"Now, as regards our second problem, I find it sad 
and, er, hard to admit this, but you were right. It is our 
young friend with the stutter." The Camerlengo is silent 
for a moment. Then he continues: "A matter of personal 


compromise, you understand, though as far as I can find 
out it involves, not the usual things that compromise a 
man, money or . . ." the Camerlengo stumbles, looks 
sharply at Domenico and goes on, "but a matter of family 
security. Too much money invested in too many perilous 
places. Easily, too easily, destroyed. Old family, high 
connections . . . that sort of thing. Y'know what I mean. 
Whatever it is, he can only send signals, nothing else. But 
even with mere signals— prearranged, of course — he can 
give the essence." 

"Who is the recipient of those signals?" 

"We only know the recipient lies south of this area. The 
Italians are looking into the lessee of an apartment off the 
Via della Conciliazione running down in a straight line 
from Saint Peter's Square. Somewhere down there. . . ." 

"And what shall we do now as a precaution?" 

*T want . . ." the Camerlengo begins and then breaks 
off as his voice catches in his throat. He stands up and 
looks away examining a picture hanging on the wall. He 
is obviously profoundly concerned about the young Cardi- 
nal. He begins again: "I want no suffering for him — at 
least as little as possible. He has suffered enough. And he 
has much more to suffer ... a long life of it in front of 
him. Just make it impossible for him to do any damage. 
And in time for the Third Session tomorrow morning." 
He turns around to face Domenico. "Will Your Eminence 
talk with Ruzzo in the morning and arrange all that? Dis- 
creetly. Please!" Domenico nods. The other Cardinal leaves 
slowly and quietly and sadly. 

By 1:00 a.m. all caucuses are over and all conversations 
are finished. For the first time in the long history of 
Conclaves, the Electors are all on an equal footing: Every 
one of them knows the inner reasons of state that have 
guided Vatican political policy in recent years. For the 
first time, also, the Electors are perfectly aware of the 
financial entanglements of the Vatican. They have as a 
body a very minute picture of the two dominant political 
influences playing within their ranks in the Conclave. 

Perhaps it is all these factors that have produced the 
attitude with which most Electors retire this night. On 
the one hand, openness to all possibilities. No longer is 
any Conservative or Traditionalist or Progressivist as- 

The Final Conclave Vll 

sured of a preponderance. On the other hand, a feeling of 
helplessness, of initiative lacking to them who should, 
above all others, have the God-given initiatives and drive 
of specially appointed messengers of the Gospel. 

The Second Day 

MORNING: 5:00 A.M.-i 0:00 a.m. 

There are many early risers today. Thule, Domenico, the 
Camerlengo, Franzus, Angelico, Azande, are among the 
first to say their private Masses at 5:30 a.m. 

By 6 o'clock, when the young Monsignore has been 
seated a bare five minutes at his desk, the Camerlengo 
arrives with Thule and Lohngren. They closet themselves 
in the inner office. The young Monsignore glances at his 
watch, then slips out and closes the outer door. He will 
have an early morning coffee with the priest-confessors. 

Inside in the office, only one point is discussed: how 
to stop Angelico. In spite of Domenico's denial of any 
intention on his part to propose Angelico, or on Angeli- 
co's part to canvass for a nomination, the fear is that 
he will be nominated and will run as candidate. Too much 
has happened. All three Cardinals feel sure he will be put 
in nomination by Domenico and seconded by someone of 
Domenico 's choosing. Before throwing their support in 
Thule's direction, the Camerlengo and Lohngren discuss 
the Coalition Policy with Thule. They have certain con- 
ditions: not so "open" a Church for non-Catholics as 
Thule proposes; a much slower and more cautious approach 
to the Marxists than Thule wishes. He agrees. 

Then they discuss tactics. Thule 's first idea is to create 
a long delay by organizing several speakers. 

"It won't work, Eminence,'* the Camerlengo tells him. 
"Somewhere along the line, Domenico or one of his sym- 
pathizers may propose to elect their own candidate by 
acclamation. By then, he will have got ail the Asians and 
Africans, most Europeans, perhaps even some of th§> 
Latin Americans. What then?" 


The Final Conclave 379 

"That's it, Brother!" Thule straightens up. "That's what 
we must do. We propose ... I propose Yiu to be elected 
by acclamation. Buff seconds. My name is down already 
as first speaker. That's it, my Brother." 

"Supposing they have the same idea?" the other men 

"No. It's not Domenico's way," Lohngren says soberly. 
"Besides, I think Domenico is too respectful of proper 
procedure. No. It is Angelico I fear. If you can get your 
proposal and seconding through, and Angelico doesn't 
follow you — by the way is he marked down to speak? No? 
Well, then, if you get past that point, you should have no 

After a few minutes' further conversation, they break 
up. The Camerlengo has paperwork to get through con- 
cerning the Conclave — he still is Camerlengo. Thule seeks 
out Buff in order to alert him as to the plan. Lohngren has 
to go and talk with the other Germans and some of the 
North Americans. 

Angelico and Azande have an appointment with Dome- 
nico for 7:30 a.m. Domenico is late. The other two sit 
in his apartment waiting for him. He arrives at 7:50 a.m. 
"Either of Your Eminences going to breakfast?" he asks 
them, as he walks in. Both visitors shake their heads. "Well, 
then, let's get down to business. Here's the situation. 

"There's going to be a rush acclamation, or an attempt 
at it." He looks at Azande. "By Thule and Buff." He stops, 
then adds: "Of Yiu, of course." Angelico draws a deep 

"Steady a moment," Domenico goes on. "I shall ask for 
special permission to speak. But — note it well — permission, 
not from the Presidents, but from the Conclave." He 
stops and looks at Angelico and Azande, appraising their 
reactions. "A rush acclamation job of our own." 

"And then?" Angelico asks. 

"Then," Domenico says slowly, "it is up to His Emi- 
nence here," turning his head around to look at Azande. 
Azande coughs and smiles a little sheepishly. The three 
are silent. Finally, Azande speaks. 

"And what shall I recommend, Father?" 

"Exactly what the situation demands, Eminence." 

"But I have not prepared anything." 

**Let me see: You have been an ordained priest, a 


Bishop, and a Cardinal for over twenty-five years. Yes, 
I guess, twenty-five years or more have either prepared 
Your Eminence for this moment or they have not. We 
are going to find out within an hour or two. Now Emi- 
nence ..." Domenico says this to Azande as he glances 
at his watch, "if you will excuse us two, we have some 
private matters to discuss." 

Azande rises, smiles at both of them, and leaves. 

Angelico looks at Domenico and waits. Domenico is 
also waiting. He only says: "We will have a visitor at 
8:15. When he leaves, you go with him. Apart from the 
bathroom, stick to him at every moment. If you cannot 
find room together at Mass, then when the Mass is over 
at about 9:40, meet him outside the Chapel and walk 
with him past my room and toward yours — as if you 
wished to pick up something for the Session but did not 
want to lose his company. Understood?" 

At a few moments after 8:15, there is a light knock at 
the door. Domenico opens it. The young Cardinal with 
the stutter is there. "Good morning, Eminence!" Dome- 
nico's voice is genial and friendly. Angelico stands up. 
"Angelico here is hungry, as I promised you! Now he will 
explain what I think exactly of the Progressivist theo- 
logians and about our prospects in Mainland China." 

The Mass is a difficult experience for the young Cardinal. 
Again, as he gives a look around the Chapel, he senses 
the unity and the union of these men in spite of all their 
differences; or, rather their very differences seem to be 
the source of their unity. In front of him he recognizes 
Pellino with his continual shifting from knee to knee; 
Desai who is hunched over the pew, his head buried in 
his hands; the tremulous Sargent; the imperious figure of 
the arrogant Kirchner; Balboa, erect and slightly fierce; 
Dowd, the long Scotsman; Ni Kan, stiff and motionless. 
Each different, one from the other. 

Looking over at the other side he runs his eye over a 
montage of faces: Domenico, Venturi, Lotuko, Lombardi, 
Vignente. Some invisible line of love, or at least of devo- 
tion to a cause, seems to run through them all, but to 
evade his own hand. All this is difficult enough for the 
young Cardinal. He feels alien. 

His pain becomes acute when the Camerlengo raises 

The Final Conclave 381 

the Consecrated Host, saying the ritual words: "Through 
Him, with Him, and in Him, there is for You, All-powerful 
Father, all glory and honor for ever and ever." For that 
instant, most of the Cardinals raise their eyes and look at 
the Host in the Celebrant's hands. The young Cardinal 
feels excluded from some happiness that the others share, 
even if they are not conscious of that sharing. And he 
remembers what was said to him as a young priest in a 
remote country parish years before. It was a suicide whom 
he tried to dissuade: ''Father, yesterday or last year — I 
don't know when — I fell from the velvet dark of happy 
stars down into these senseless yet sense-lit days and 
noisome hours. I will have an end to it all now. I cannot 
go on like this." 

As he walks with Angelico along the corridor and the 
warning bell rings, he says for no apparent reason and 
not in particular to Angelico: "I have a few important 
questions to ask you. But for the last hour, the heavens 
were sort of wiped out. Like a rough hand had banged all 
the doors shut. But let me drop into my own rooms. I will 
rejoin you at the door." 

"Walk with me as far as my apartment," Angelico says 
easily, "it will take a second or two. Then you can drop 
off and catch up with me later." The young Cardinal 

As they pass Domenico's door, they both see it open. 
Domenico and Edouardo Ruzzo, the chief of security, are 
standing there. Ruzzo, Angelico thinks, is being very, very 
reverential and respectful. He does not look in the Car- 
dinal's eyes. He has his eyes lowered and is looking intense- 
ly at the Cardinal's pectoral cross. 

Domenico is all urbanity. "Eminence," he calls softly 
to the young Cardinal, "a moment of your time. Please!" 

"We'll catch up with each other later at the bus," Ange- 
lico says, seeing his cue. The door of Domenico's apart- 
ment closes behind Domenico and Ruzzo and the young 


When the Cardinal Electors are assembled in the Upper 
Room, a quarter of an hour later, Domenico enters fol- 
lowed by the young Cardinal and by the Camerlengo. Prob- 


ably no one even notices that the young Cardinal is no 
longer wearing his pectoral cross. All are calm, serious. 
All quietly take their places. 

The Camerlengo starts the ritual for the election of 
the officials for this Third Session. Down on the Via della 
Conciiiazione, two men sit at their silent console. As they 
will learn, there is no transmission. 

In the Conclave, Bonkowski of Poland is chosen as 
President, to be assisted by Gellee of France and Kotoko 
of Africa, as co-Presidents. Scrutineers are Chera, Masac- 
cio, and Motzu. Revisers are three Curial Cardinals: Uc- 
cello and two Frenchmen, Houdon and Lamy. Infirmarii 
are Bassano, Eakins, and Peale. 

No sooner are the new Presidents seated, and Bonkow- 
ski has looked at the agenda, than he announces Thule's 
name as first speaker. Bonkowski attempts a light tone: 
"Your Eminences will be surprised to learn that our first 
speaker this morning will be the Most Reverend Lord 
Cardinal Thule." But no one laughs or even smiles. There 
is a deep hush as Thule stands up. He bends toward his 
table to get his notes. 

At this precise moment Domenico chooses to rise and 
step out from the rows of Cardinals so as to stand in the 
center. v 'My Lord Presidents!" he speaks in a loud voice 
that carries to every corner. "My Lord Cardinals! In 
virtue of the ancient Conclave practice of vox populi (the 
voice of the people), I claim utter priority over all pre- 
viously scheduled speakers!" Either by deliberate trick of 
voice, or because he really has mentally adopted such an 
attitude, his voice sounds like a back-bencher in the British 
House of Commons, or like a revolutionary jumping to 
his feet in the French Chamber of Deputies to upset the 
equilibrium, the status quo. 

The effect is electrifying. Thule is frozen in his posture 
over his table. Bonkowski's mouth sags open. Every head 
is jerked around as if on invisible strings, as all eyes are 
on that one diminutive figure standing in the center of the 

Every head except one: As soon as Domenico intervenes, 
the young Cardinal bends his head forward and covers 
his face with his hands. His shoulders are shaking. He, 
more than anyone here, knows what is happening now. 
And, if he has tears, it is not for himself, nor for what 
he must later suffer as penalty, but for the havoc unneces- 

The Final Conclave 383 

sarily created by him and by men like him. He and they 
have betrayed their Colleagues, sowing Lies and ambiguities 
among honest men, playing on honest fears, abusing the 
zeal and hopes of many. A body of men who, by and 
large, wish the same thing have been confused and divided, 
one from the other, by clever tactics. 

Everybody else is so stunned that the first reaction is 
silence, as though Domenico's words had been stones 
hurled into a well, and 118 men are waiting for the echo 
of their landing. 

Then, in random cross fire, the reactions explode. Thule 
straightens and stands like a ramrod and starts speaking 
and gesticulating. Cardinals leap to their feet, faces fraught 
with rage, fear, confusion, disgust. Yelling, asking, object- 
ing, shouting. Lombardi, Franzus, Buff, Marquez, Balboa, 
Lohngren, Delacoste, Manuel, Masaccio. The Camerlengo 
remains seated, but his hands grip the little table in front 
of him as if for support. 

Domenico looks straight ahead at Bonkowski, his arms 
folded across his chest. Bonkowski rings his silver bell 
angrily and insistently, "My Most Reverend Lord Car- 
dinals! My Most Reverend Lords! Please! My Lord Elec- 
tors! Please! We will have silence! Please! My Lord Car- 

But even as the turmoil and cries die down, a slow, 
steady quiet clapping of hands begins. Not loud. Not 
violent. Not quick. Just steady and in a regular beat. The 
Africans have started it. Garcia and another Spaniard take 
it up. Then Terebeiski and Karewsky follow suit. Then 
Kinigoshi, Walker, Sargent, Witz, Kiel, the three Asians, 
two Frenchmen, and a whole host of Italians, Uccello, 
Riccioni, Canaletto, Maderno, Duccio, Lamennais, Bron- 
zino, Nolasco, Pozzo. The Cardinals who had jumped to 
their feet to shout in protest are gradually silenced by the 
rhythmic hand-clapping and sink back on their chairs. The 
sound goes on and on, louder. Bonkowski consults with 
Gellee and Kotoko. Then, after a few more instants, he 
rings the silver bell gently and waits. The clapping fades 
slowly, then stops, almost as if on cue. 

Bonkowski looks at Domenico who has not budged a 
muscle. "My Most Reverend Lord Domenico," he begins. 
But Buff is on his feet. 

"Doubtless, My Lord Cardinal Domenico can cite his- 
torical precedents for this unexpected interruption? For us 


country cousins, Cardinals from the outer provinces, per- 
haps he will take the trouble to cite time and place and 
Conclave and Cardinal? Otherwise ..." Buff leaves off 

Bonkowski turns his head slowly to face the lone figure 
of Domenico standing in the center aisle. All eyes are on 
him again. "Sudden death for our clever friend," Marquez 
mutters half out loud. 

In the expectant silence, Domenico unfolds his arms 
and draws from his sleeve a single sheet of paper. In that 
same raucous voice he thunders out a cascade of Conclaves, 
names, dates, times; and the phrase 'vox populV recurs 
again and again. It is like a chorus line of support from 
past Conclaves. 

"Conclave 31. 1471. The late afternoon. Cardinal Barbo 
invokes vox populL Conclave 35. 1513. March 1. Early 
morning. Cardinal Backocz invokes vox populL Conclave 
40. 1549. December 5. Forenoon. Cardinal Salviati in- 
vokes vox populL Conclave 53. 1621. January 28. Evening 
time. Cardinal Campori invokes vox populu . . ." As the 
high voice of Domenico continues reading out numbers 
and names, the gentle hand-clapping starts again, low 
enough to allow his voice to be heard, loud enough to be 
heard as a background of support from Conclave 82. 
"Conclave 70. 1800. February 25. Cardinal Mattei in- 
vokes vox populi. . . ." 

Bonkowski rings his silver bell. Domenico stops in the 
middle of recounting the example of vox populi in yet 
another Conclave ". . . Conclave 73. 1830. December 11. 
Forenoon. Cardinal Gaisriick. . . ." The rhythm of con- 
stant clapping also stops. Then it takes up again. Thule 
glances around the ranks of Cardinals as far as he can 
see — and the Presidents see as clearly as he does. Only one 
out of every eight or ten Cardinals is not clapping. The 
will of the majority is clear. Bonkowski rings his silver 
bell once more. There is silence. 

"Most Reverend Electors, in view of the intervention of 
My Most Reverend Lord Domenico, I now declare he 
has the floor, and this according to the manifest will of 
the majority of you." There is a subdued murmur of 

Domenico places the sheet of paper back in his sleeve. 
He moves slowly up to the speakers' place. The silence 
is again so deep that by the time he rises from his brief 

The Final Conclave 385 

prayer and faces the assembly, even those furthest from 
him can hear the soft rustling of his robes. 

Domenico no longer has the "transcendent look" that 
his penitents and clients and students know so well. In- 
stead, there is a great evenness, an equanimity, in his 
expression. At this moment what Domenico must do is 
reach every one of these Electors and bind them again in 
unity. But he must also point up the diverse motives that 
have divided them, in their fears and faults, into factions 
that have little to do with Jesus, or with the Church of 

He looks at the presiding Cardinals, smiles gently and 
bows: "Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinal Presi- 
dents!" Then, turning: "My Most Beloved Brothers and 
Lord Cardinals." Domenico begins, his tone quiet now, 
his gaze ranging calmly from face to face. "I think there 
is not one Cardinal Elector present here who has not 
suffered deeply in the last thirty-six hours." He looks 
steadily at Makonde's darkling features. "Some have suf- 
fered because they felt deeply slighted." Riccioni's fright- 
ened look is unlike his confidence of the day before. "Some 
have suffered because a mortal fear was let loose in their 
spirit." Thule is looking at him from beneath his bushy 
eyebrows. "Others, because they banked all their hopes 
on one forceful twist of events — or what they regarded as 
a twist of Providence, no doubt." On his extreme left, An- 
gelico is one of the few not looking at him. "A few be- 
cause they found whatever love they had for our Lord 
Jesus was severely deficient in trust — that, in reality, they 
had trusted themselves, and of course, in the painful 
crunch of crisis ( they felt themselves let down roughly/' 
Domenico can hardly restrain a smile as he sees the Cam- 
erlengo's studied expression, his 'holy indifference' as 
one Vatican wag put it. "Others still suffer because nothing 
in our assembly has proceeded in an orderly fashion. 
Nothing in this Conclave seems predictable or to be like 
past Conclaves." As his gaze travels steadily from face 
to face and returns to the Presidents, he knows that in the 
silence of this assembly, where only his words echo, by 
some alchemy of the occasion, he is drawing concentration 
and attention up to where he stands. He has them in the 
palm of his hand. He understands them. And their fears. 

"In sum, my Beloved Colleagues," still in that level, 
quiet tone, "this is a Conclave that has hurt everyone it 


touched." Domenico stops a moment. "All of us." The 
three words seem to answer some doubt. Down the row 
on his left hand, Cardinal Walker is praying to himself 
and is heard by his neighbors as he says over and over 
again in a sort of controlled panic: "Lord Jesus have 
mercy upon us. Tell him what to say. Lord Jesus have 
mercy on us all. Tell him what to say. ..." 

Thule lifts his head and gives a quick glance at Franzus, 
then to Buff and to Lynch. They look back and forth at 
each other, more in questioning than anything else. The 
Africans, too, glance at one another and over to Yiu and 
Ni Kan. There is a luminosity to their expressions that 
no word can convey. Braun makes a small gesture to Bron- 
zino. He hunches his shoulders quizzically. Domenico 
knows how to read all the reactions. He is certain he 
must give a focus to what so many in this assembly are 
suffering. And he must throw a line of hope, must clinch 
their grasp of it, if he is to draw them along with him 
where he wishes to go this day. 

"Ah, well ..." he continues, almost in a conversational 
tone, "I always told those who came to me from time to 
time for consolation and encouragement, that I myself 
would never be cast down or immobilized by failure, as 
long as I suffered only what My Lord Jesus had suffered 
before me. I would only give up trying, give up loving, I 
told them, the day I faced something Jesus had not faced. 
That day has not yet come. For me. Or for us, my Vener- 
able Brothers. 

"Is it not a fact," his voice is inflected now with a tiny 
note of pleading, "that for the first time since our Con- 
clave began we are — as one heart and one mind — beginning 
to hear that ancient voice saying: 'I know. I know your 
hurt. I know all about hurting. Especially the hurt of 
failure.* Is it not so, my Brothers?" He takes a step back- 
ward and then forward. It is a mannerism of his. 

"Let us not remain wallowing in our pain. Each one 
with his own. Let each examine his own conscience. Not 
so we may bleed, but so we can see without flinching 
how we have come to this impasse. And so we can see 
how we must move to escape from it. Let us ask our- 
selves about our major sins — our major sins as Churchmen. 
Let each of us ask: Have I consorted with those who wish 
the destruction of the Church?" Domenico 's voice rises 
almost querulously at the end of each sentence. "Have I 

The Final Conclave 387 

identified all my own ambitions with the glory of God? 
Have I too easily met the onslaught of barefaced barbarity 
— whether it be the comfort of corruption, or the lethal 
aims of the Church's enemies — with concessions? With 
smiles? Merely because I wished my accustomed life to 
continue a little longer? Merely because I did not want to 
step over the threshold of hardship? 

"Or is it force I relied upon? On those powerful sinews 
of gold and silver? On my beautiful friends? On the power 
of my position? And, as ultimate guardian, on the cun- 
ningly distributed nuclear tinderboxes of friendly powers? 
Our technological fix? Have I found it easier to sit with 
grandscale sinners and smile indulgently, and treat oleagi- 
nous officials with cooperative friendship? Have I found 
that easier, I mean, than to take a proper stand?" 

Domenico has reeled off what is, in effect a litany of 
the faults besetting the chief factions in the Conclave 
drama. Many, if not all, feel Domenico may be building 
up to a name-by-name denunciation. Some Cardinals hold 
their breath. One or two gather up their papers, as if 
wishing they could leave. Some sit back as if waiting for 
the axe to fall. The silence is so concentrated one can 
almost touch it like velvet. 

Until Domenico's next words, which come as sweetness 
to many: "And now for each of my weaknesses is there 
no way out? No way out but hard thinking and still harder 

"My Brothers, there is an ancient voice speaking among 
us today. We need to listen to that voice. We need to. 
Because we must move forward. Because we must choose. 
Because we must act. And because our grace period is not 
of infinite duration, even though we serve a Lord whose 
grace is infinite." It is as though he has given every Elector 
a reprieve. All are listening to hear what their most trusted 
man thinks must be done. 

"Haven't we all heard it? At one time or another? Do 
we not hear it now? And do we not know whose voice it 
is? We have an ancient proverb of this city which tells 
us: Never is silence here. The voice of Rome is eternal 
That voice has nothing to do with our humanistic glory! 
Nor our Renaissance monuments, our libraries, our stat- 
uary, our frescoes, our palaces, our bureaucracy, our dig- 
nitaries, our power at the green-topped tables. Nol 


"No, my Brothers! I mean the real voice of Rome, the 
voice of our Lord present here!" 

Then there is another abrupt change. Domenico's mood 
becomes downright cheerful, like someone setting out on 
a pleasant reminiscence of things beautiful and of certain- 
ties undoubted. "I remember, it was the morning after His 
Holiness Pope Paul had had his late night session with a 
certain financial gentleman and signed a bit of paper. I 
remember that morning, because that was the first time 
His Holiness made an open remark to me about that an- 
cient voice. 

"We discussed the whole demarche, of course — but 
that part of the discussion with His Holiness was only a 
springboard. We stood at one of the windows in his study 
and looked out over the Piazza of Saint Peter's, down at 
the Obelisk at its center, with the fountains playing around 
it in the sunlight." It is almost as though Domenico is 
looking magically through the solid walls and out across 
the roofs and on to the Piazza of St. Peter's where the 
Obelisk stands and the waters leap and fall splashing, 
gleaming. He seems to have the power to grant his listen- 
ers the same vision. 

"His Holiness said that, whenever he had made a big 
decision, he always found a judgment on it mirrored around 
that Obelisk. I could have asked what judgment he found 
on the Sindona decision, but I didn't because that would 
have fractured the experience. Instead, we recalled how 
Emperor Caligula placed that Obelisk there about five or 
six years after Jesus was crucified in Palestine; and how 
Peter saw it upside down as he waited one evening for 
death and for Jesus; and how thousands of Christian men 
and women and children saw it as they waited for death 
and for Jesus. 

"His Holiness turned away and sat down at his desk. 
Then he said, without my asking, that the judgment on 
him was hard, but not harsh. I remember nodding and 
quoting that old proverb: Never in silence. The voice of 
Rome is eternal. His Holiness looked at me, then, with 
that peculiar brusqueness of his, eyebrows raised, mouth 
clenched, chin jutting out. 'Even if I have not translated 
that voice correctly at times, Father, someone will. You! 
You translate it for us. For them. For all of us.' This was 
the essence of our conversation that morning." 

Domenico is silent for a few seconds, caught in the 

The Final Conclave 389 

strong emotion of memory. "Even though all of us hear 
that voice, many, perhaps most of us, can no longer under- 
stand it. Let me interpret then. In my own words. And let 
us put ourselves some hard questions. 

"Is there any point in hiding the truth from ourselves? 
Isn't it the fact that we are dealing with life and death? 
Let us not fool ourselves. Yes surely, we are simple priests, 
sacred Cardinals; and we represent the spiritual interests, 
the supernatural values of believers. 

"But is that the extent of our activity, the ambit of 
our effective action? I ask you! My Brothers! 

"Are we merely and only and exclusively clergymen 
processing birth, marriage, and funeral certificates across 
our desks, carefully elaborating descriptions of doctrine, 
devising new ways of fanning the piety of the faithful? 
Is that a complete and accurate and genuinely exhaus- 
tive account of our dealing with life and death? Who says 
that is us? Is that really us?" Domenico straightens up, 
his body rigid, his head flung back. He raises his hand 
and points at them all — points in, accusation. His voice is 
hard. It rings loud around the hall. "That is a lie!" Dome- 
nico 's lips close on that last Latin word, mendacium, as 
he spits it out distastefully, with sudden violence, unre- 
lenting disgust portrayed in his face. "A lie, my Brothers! 

"We know, we Cardinals who work in Rome, we all 
know the vast board on which we play the game of na- 
tions. And for what high stakes! And if any non-Curial 
Cardinal thinks that we spend our time blessing Holy 
Water and kneeling in adoration of statues and taking 
part in pious processions at orphanages; if any non-Curial 
Cardinal says, in other words, that he knows nothing of 
the full realities, he is either naive or he is deliberately 
turning a blind eye to the crude realities of our lives. 

"No! Eminent Colleagues! Religion is big business, as 
the Americans say. And this affair of the Church of ours 
is the biggest of those businesses. 

"And let none of you mistake my meaning. I am not 
saying that our financial structure is completely worldly; 
I am not saying our diplomatic participation is for purely 
secular objections. I am not saying our political clout is 
used for temporal glory. For none of that would be com- 
pletely true. What I am asserting is that we are deeply 
engaged in the world of international finance; that we 
are definitely committed to the obligations and functions of 


secular diplomacy; that we are part and parcel of the 
socio-political community of nations and states. That is all. 

"And I am stating all this not as a main conclusion, nor 
as something to stop at and consider. But, merely as a 
stage in the basic argument I wish to make with you. In 
other words, Eminent Brothers, you and I as Princes of 
this Church, as Most Eminent Cardinals of the Holy Ro- 
man Catholic and Apostolic Church, we are to be de- 
scribed and defined precisely and accurately as players on 
an international chessboard. 

"When you think of that fact, think at the same time, 
of the middle-class housewife in Brooklyn, New York, or 
in Kansas City, Missouri, running her eye over the price 
of a pound of coffee. Or the little newly-married girl in 
Caracas, Venezuela, her baby in her arms, searching for 
a cheap tin of beef or some vegetables, perhaps. Or the 
slum-dwellers in London, Paris, or Palermo shivering for 
lack of heat because oil and coal and even wood are be- 
yond their means. Or the swollen bellies of the babies in 
Bangladesh, or the beggars of Hong Kong, or the little 
children playing with roaches in Brazilian barrios, or the 
seven-year-old boys catching rats in the favelas in order to 
bring the meat home for dinner. . . . Say to yourselves : Are 
we involved in these lives? Are we involved as clergymen? 
Or are we involved as political revolutionaries no different 
from all the others who carry guns and kill? No different, 
except that our candor must be less, for we serve a cause 
we cannot face or name when we kill. 

"And then, when you think of the latest shipment of 
arms to Eastern Europe or West Africa, or the exclusivity 
of high-rise apartment houses in Rio de Janeiro and in 
Manhattan, or the pride and dominance of the Rome Hil- 
ton, the Pan Am building on the Champs Elysees, or the 
Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C., the Stock Ex- 
change in Montreal, Canada . . . say to yourselves: There, 
in each of those situations and places, we are involved 
deeply. Not as clergymen. Not as apostles of Jesus. But as 
businessmen. As corporation executives. As shareholders. 
As directors. As responsible for what happens. That is us. 

"Or think of the flow of confidential information pass- 
ing in the privileged circles, Hambros Bros, of London . . . 
J. P. Morgan of New York . . . Credit Suisse of Switzer- 
land . . . the Banco di Roma , . . and the monopolist 
families of North America and Latin America . . . and 

The Final Conclave 391 

the financial dynasties of Europe and the Americas and 
the Far East . . . and so on. Yes. Be sure. That is us. 
We are keenly interested. Deeply involved. Accepted 
players in that chessgame of nations. And if that were 
the nature of the game, we would be participating merely 
in a little human corruption. 

"Again, this is not my conclusion. Only a stage in the 
argument. An accurate observation, and to be admitted! 
Without cavilling. That is us. Part of us. And, quite 
frankly, we do not, on the whole, participate in that game 
— in any of those games — merely for gain. No. Oh no! 
Our motives over all are pure. For we have learned the 
game well after sixteen hundred years' apprenticeship and 
practice. The craft is ours — as much as any man's. And, to 
our credit, we have never taken the ultimate step: never 
has the economic and political and diplomatic power of the 
Church been used for the direct destruction of the Church 
of Jesus. But we have had, and we have still, our share 
of scoundrels, charlatans, and cheats. Simply put: of 

"We do all that. We play that game. We move the 
pawns and the pieces around that board. We lose. We 
win. We make alliances. We break from traps. 

"And we do all that because of a very ancient decision. 
Not one man's decision. Nor even one generation's deci- 
sion — -I mean one generation of Churchmen. You can 
point to this or that Churchman, Pope, Cardinal, clerical 
advisor. Yes. But no one in particular did it all. 

"In fact, you will find that it was and is the result of 
a mentality that grew, first imperceptibly, and then quite 
openly. And it was not an economic decision, nor a polit- 
ical decision, nor even an intellectual decision. 

"Here, my Brothers here is its subtlety. And, if we under- 
stand how and on what plane that decision was made, we 
will understand who was its prime mover and what the 
intentions were and are of that prime mover.'* Domenico 
pauses. He appears to be focusing on something far be- 
yond the here and now of this assembly. His head is 
turned slightly to one side as if he were straining to listen. 
He stays like that for some seconds. Then he takes a few 
paces back and forth. 

"I seem at this moment to hear the words of that an- 
cient voice . . ." he stops pacing and looks at the farthest 


seated Cardinals, "we can wonder, even though we hear 
those words, we can wonder who among us will under- 
stand them still. And we can wonder if they will not be 
drowned out by the never-tiring voice of a most ancient 
enemy of ours with his hideous strength." And Domenico 
begins to recite in a low-pitched level tone: 

I am the Light of divine salvation within a universe 
that I have made human. That universe was never a 
closed cosmos of material forces, of interlocking life 
structures, of weaving and webbing laws governing a 
material universe where not one particle escapes, 
and where all matter and energy interchange — shifting, 
dovetailing, expiring, reviving, transmuting, becom- 
ing, decaying, birthing. 

Into that cosmos I came. I intervened. From outside 
it. And not according to its iron laws. Yet, not vio- 
lating those laws. But transcending them. 

And know that my intervention was an intervention by 
a completely different force. For I am not a new 
source of light. But Light uncreated. Not a loving 
being. But Love itself. Not a compassionate and sav- 
ing force. But Compassion is my being. And Salva- 
tion is of my essence. All of this was incorporated into 
flesh and blood in a mother's womb. Into my flesh 
and blood. As baby's body, as a man's frame — his life, 
his actions, his promises, his death, his resurrection, 
his rule. Thus my being, the light of salvation. In this 
world, but not of this world. 

Look what happened. Look how the Prince of this 
world with his hideous strength tries to tie me down! 
To explain me! To deal with me! At one moment, I 
am presented as the product of one brain hemisphere 
—analytical, digital, logical, discrete. At another mo- 
ment, I am described as the product of another hemi- 
sphere — synthetic, mystical, affective. But I belong 
neither to Athens, nor to Jerusalem with its Bible and 
Passion. Yet within this human universe, I passed 
through Bible mind and Bible people, and through 
Athens and its child — the Western mind. 

I am Love uncreated, uncreated Light. Light and Love 
that always were. Always will be. In all times. In all 

The Final Conclave 393 

places. Belonging to each one intimately. But not lim- 
ited by any time or place or system or theory. And, 
since the earliest days, the enemy has succeeded in 
tying me down. 

Domenico ceases his monotone and waits for just a 
moment. Then he launches into a denunciation which 
mounts steadily in volume and emphasis to a crescendo 
until his whole body is shaking in the effort. 

"I spoke a while ago of the chessboard and the world- 
wide game of pawn and dice we play. And play it we do. 
As well as any men. As successfully. As dismally. But let 
us not be stupid. The games of loans, investment bank- 
ing, real estate, foreign credits, stocks and shares, cor- 
porate financing, portfolios, and all the myriad decisions 
in economics, industry, manufacturing, buying and selling, 
these are little games we play. Pettifogging checks and 
balances and giving and taking and destroying and creat- 
ing. That is shadowplay. That is a shadow-game of the 
real game that is being played. The game of nations' souls, 
of salvation for men and women. There is the real game, 
my Brothers! 

"And there we have been trapped! For our ancient ad- 
versary knows the board; and he plots his game one thou- 
sand years ahead. And now, our moves are made — and 
his. We face checkmate. 

"If anything has frightened us all in this Conclave- 
hurt us all — it is that we feel trapped. We already hear 
the sardonic voice of that ancient enemy saying 'Check- 
mate! I got you to imagine that Uncreated Light was to 
be completely understood and made available in logic* 
Even so, my Brothers, we entrusted all we knew to scho- 
lastic philosophy. Aquinas made it all clear. And that was 
why Bon a venture tried to warn us when he called Aquinas 
the father of all the heretics. It was Aquinas who taught us 
to be rational even about faith. 

"And there was more, my Brothers. That sardonic voice 
continues: 7 got you to imagine that Eternal Love itself 
could take sides in pettifogging games. To think you must 
compete in raw power. I got you to act as though Love 
saved by wealthy as though Love healed souls by armies, 
treasuries, chancelleries. You fell for it. It's too late now. 
Checkmate/ Hear that sardonic cruelty, my Brothers," 


Domenico's face is flushed, his hands by his sides with 
fists closed. His voice rises, loud, clear, harsh. 

"Look around you and listen and you will see and hear 
how accurate the voice of our enemy is, and how hard 
it is for us to hear the ancient voice of eternal light, of 
eternal and caring love. For our vocation is not of Light 
Eternal. Our method of government is not of Love Eternal. 
Our formulation of Light's knowledge is partial, provincial, 
out-of-date, blind. Our Cardinalitial princedoms and our 
episcopal dignities have as much to do with the love and 
the light of the Lord Jesus, as the coins he paid in Caesar's 
tribute had to do with buying our salvation from the Devil 
and from the Devil's Hell and the Devil's sin. 

"We meet as Princes. We think as brokers. We plot as 
career-men. We hate and despise. We are indignant and 
triumphalistic. We seek redress and revenge. We harbor 
grudges to be paid off in kind to those who oppose us. 
We undermine. We lord it over others. We walk proudly. 
We rely on wealth, on honeyed words, 

"We accept a capitalistic democracy which is unaccept- 
able to God because it says all power is vested in the peo- 
ple — whereas we know from faith that all power is vested 
in God and passes from God to all those who have author- 
ity in our world — people or rulers. 

"And, on the other side, a section of us is willing to 
throw in its lot with a socialist democracy that invests all 
power in the economic forces of history — and to the Devil 
with God and the people! 

"And this, our Conclave? Do you think even this is 
exempt from critique or from influence? Do you? Honestly, 
do you, Brothers? 

"Its very nature is that of a powerplay. Our purpose here 
is to balance bloc against bloc, interest with interest. To 
meet selfishness with selfishness, and patch together a 
working unity based on a power-broker's compromise. Do 
ut des! Quid pro quo! This for you. This for me. This for 
him. Nothing for them, A little bit here. A little bit there. 
And the power of Jesus is treated like a huge apple pie 
that all the greedy children must share. An inheritance 
that all the aspiring heirs must divide between them, each 
according to his own. These are the things that swing us 
hither and thither. 

"What chance would Peter the Fisherman have here? 
For that matter, if Jesus were present and did not reveal 

The Final Conclave 395 

his identity, would he get one vote from us, my Lord 
Cardinals? Of course not! And not because he was not a 
Cardinal. But because he had no faction behind him, could 
promise nothing. 

'Tor, to tell the truth, we have two scales of value — we 
are torn apart by the disparity of rhythm in our very souls. 
And the life of our Church is cracking at the seams because 
the institution is filled with an unbearable inequality of 
vibrations. We are doomed as an institution. We were led 
off the path. We were hell-bent on winning. We looked to 
short-term victories — forty years, eighty years. And our 
adversary saw a victory looming up about two thousand 
years later. We did not see the strategy. We were occupied 
with tactics. 

"So we made all the wrong moves on that chessboard. 
And now there is no saving what we have been building 
ever since the day Silvester talked with Constantine, and 
since Leo 3 kissed the foot of Charlemagne. No saving, I 
say. No saving!" The last two words are almost a scream, 
an old man's scream. Domenico is shaking all over, per- 
spiration running down his face. He is weeping. 

He pauses; and when he resumes, he succumbs for a 
moment to weariness. "You must forgive me, Brothers. 
Perhaps this is why Pope Paul said: 'The Church seems 
destined to die. 1 And if these tears flow freely, it is not 
for what we might have been, but for the deep pain we 
all must have at this moment, and in this Conclave." 

Then, after a glance at the Presidents, he goes on. His 
voice still low, is vibrant and now burning anew with 
some powerful feeling. He speaks as if trying to pour out 
from himself all the force and violence he is undergoing. 
"Let no one, therefore, no one of us mistake or misap- 
prehend what we are about, Eminent Brothers, What we 
are about to do today, now, in this final Conclave, is sim- 
ply this: to end the Church of Conclave! Our job is to 
plot and plan our own liquidation! Not by summary exe- 
cution. Not by unfaithful desertion. Not by craven stupid- 
ity. But by our concerted will seeking the will of Jesus. 
So that the Light we bear and the Love we claim to rep- 
resent within this human universe shall be free! How shall 
both Light and Love be freed? How shall we deal with 
this deathly checkmate threat? For the threat of checkmate 
it is. . . ." 

There is a sudden commotion down near where Thule 


is sitting. Domenico pauses, stands up straight, and drops 
his hands to his sides. He is silent. 

"My Lord Cardinal Presidents! I rise to a point of 
order.' 1 It is Buff. He speaks in a tone of controlled urgency. 
Dignified. His voice is silken and carefully correct. His 
tones are clear. A touch of detachment in his demeanor — 
almost haughtiness, as if all these proceedings were dis- 
tasteful to him. "My Lord Cardinals, we are not proceed- 
ing constitutionally. My Most Eminent and Esteemed 
Brother, My Lord Cardinal Domenico, I feel, is going 
beyond the bounds of Conclave propriety. . . ." 

Domenico's response is immediate. For the first time, 
his friends see the cold breath of sheer anger on his face. 
"If My Lord Buff were to spend a little more time studying 
the documents of the Church and not poring over letters 
from atheistic ministers and renegade bishops; if he spent 
his vacations with his colleagues and not among the neo- 
pagans of . . ." Buff glances at Thule appealingly. He can- 
not handle this attack and Domenico's unexpected rage 
all by himself. He has no defense against brutal confron- 

Thule leaps to his feet. "My Lord Cardinal Presidents! 
In addition to advocating revolution in the College of Car- 
dinals, My Lord Domenico is indulging in personal . . ." 

Domenico is after Thule in a flash. "Revolution! You! 
My Lord Thule! You! You are the one who told a meeting 
of monks: T have come to preach strife in the world and 
war in the monasteries/ You, My Lord Thule! You are 
the one who told a public audience in France: 'Traditional 
Christianity is finished.' You, My Lord Thule, you. 

"Will the Lord Cardinal President pardon my rising 
unbidden?" The voice is Franzus'. He is already standing, 
looking through his thick lenses at the Cardinal Presidents. 
He has that full echo in his voice that always betrays anger 
in a man no matter what language he is speaking. "It is 
not that we are afraid to go naked and unprotected into 
the worid in order to preach . . ." 

Domenico is after him, too, as quickly as he can catch 
his breath. "You, My Lord Franzus, talk about walking 
naked? I don't know where Your Eminence intends to go 
with that opening thought. I tell you, My Lord Cardinal, 
my brother Cardinal, if all of us were as well protected 
as you have been, our desks and our altars and our bap- 
tismal fonts would be as thick in dust as those of your 

The Final Conclave 397 

home diocese." Franzus flushes to the roots of his hair. 
The protection Domenico refers to is Franzus* constant 
companion, a Russian-appointed agent, who is always 
present. Nobody quite knows if this is Franzus' choice or 
something imposed on him. "Yes, My Lord Cardinal," 
Domenico goes on relentlessly, "you are protected. But 
God help you!" And before Franzus can reply, Domenico 
has another shot: "By the way, My Lord Cardinal, the 
next time you enter a private government clinic for a light 
operation, be sure to have yourself debugged before par- 
ticipating in further confidential conversations with Ro- 
man officials." 

A sudden, audible, wave of puzzlement and nervousness 
sweeps over the Cardinals, heads turning from side to side, 
questioning looks and gestures, shoulders shrugged, a few 
whispered conversations. Franzus sinks back into his place. 
The presiding Cardinal is finally able to intervene. "My 
Lord Domenico will continue his address." 

Domenico is eager to continue. "I would not have you 
think, my Brothers, that there is either hate or disgust or 
even anger in me today. Forgive me for any violation of 
fraternal charity. And may Jesus have mercy on my soul. 

"It is just that we stand at the crossroads of history. We 
vote. But we must remember that the ballot paper will 
silently accept anything we write upon it. Only events will 
plague us. Only the Lord Jesus will judge us for the way we 

"In choosing, we must listen, listen, listen! For that same 
ancient voice is relentless, and we have very little time 
to take heed. In our real and undying faith, let us not 
fail to hear the word . . ." and Domenico resumes the 
"voice" of ancient Rome. All in the Conclave is silence, 
save for that curious, insistent monotone: 

I can lose with equanimity all my monuments. It mat- 
ters little if the robes of Jesus in Rome are destroyed 
or neglected. Let the Scala Sancta in the Church of 
San Salvatore be torn out, if it comes to that. Let 
its marble be used for public latrines. Let the tanks 
of an enemy rumble into St. Peter's Basilica, as did 
the horses of the Spanish Army in 1527; as did the 
warriors of Attila and Genseric a thousand years be- 
fore that. It does not matter. Let the mitres and croziers 
and tiaras and rings and crosses in my museums be 


sold as collateral or pillaged as booty. It does not 
matter. And let the Vicar of Jesus be a pilgrim as 
Jesus was, whose vicar the Pope now is. It does not 
matter. Let all such beauty, which is also mine, let it 
be dimmed and tarnished. 

That is not your concern. You are not subject to his- 
tory — there is no such thing really; nor are you sub- 
ject to historical forces — these are concepts. History 
does nothing. It is the living human being that does 
something. And our history is nothing but the activity 
of men pursuing their purposes, individuals like you. 

Individuals are the determinants. And the future de- 
pends on your choice, your individual choice. You are 
not the creatures of systems or collectivities or aggre- 
gates or institutions. And the law of your lives and 
your achievement is not logic and not emotion. It is 

Experience tells you that you have to make an end 
to it all, in order to make a beginning. You must free 
me from the trammels you and your forebears in this 
Church have placed on me. Free me. Or else, I may 
have to destroy you, in order to make room for a 
more faithful generation who will not speak your 
language, will not think your thoughts, will not wear 
your dignities or your robes. But they will consent to 
offer to God that most acceptable sacrifice of the 
Lord Jesus in purity and in truth, all over this human 
universe! "From the rising of the sun," as the Hebrew 
Prophet wrote, "to the going down of the same," a 
pure offering. 

"My Lord Cardinal Presidents, I thank you all." Dome- 
nico walks slowly to his place. 

There is a short silence. No one of the Electors moves. 
Then the Cardinal President confers in whispers with his 
assistants. He stands. "We move that a balloting take 
place. We will vote as we should vote, first on policy, then 
on our candidate. The vote on policy is a choice between 
the formulation of My Lord Domenico and the formula- 
tion of My Lord Thule. Will their Eminences please as- 
sent or dissent to such a vote. First, those who assent." 
There is a moment's pause. Then, as a wave rippling onto 

The Final Conclave 399 

a long curving shore, the Ita's sound. First from one 
Cardinal, another, another, all around the thrones. Then 
the Ita's finally die away. "Now, their Eminences who 
dissent," the President bids. There is no sound. No dissent. 
"We shall proceed then to a balloting. And . . ." Bon- 
kowski pauses. He looks down at his notes, then clears his 
throat. He speaks with gravity and emotion. "Not in vir- 
tue of my function as presiding Cardinal," he begins slowly, 
"but as one of you, my Most Eminent Brothers, permit 
me to add one short reflection." He looks around in query 
at the two rows of thrones and down to the far end. 

"This seems to be an all-important moment in our -his- 
tory as a Conclave, when normal conventions can be 
mitigated. Personally, my Brothers, I have no use for the 
amnesia of our contemporaries or the futuristic doomsay- 
ing of our current prophets — I refer, of course, to no 
one here in our Conclave. We have time, the Lord's time. 
We have the secret of the only real time — not a vacuous 
eternity and not a dead past, but the sparkling instant 
that lies at the heartbeat of all human living. For this, for 
reminding us of this, we wish to thank My Lord Domeni- 
co . . ." There is a brief outburst of quiet hand-clapping. 
The President pauses a moment, nonplussed by the unex- 
pected approval. 

"It is the privilege of the Presiding Cardinal to call on 
any one of our number who, in his opinion, can properly 
set the tone and the mind of the Conclave in perspective. 
I have not yet exercised this prerogative. And this I wish 
to do now. Believe me, Brothers, it is not lightly or sud- 
denly or at anyone else's bidding, but with deep convic- 
tion, that I now call on . . ." he looks around seeking that 
boyish face, and then finds it, "My Most Reverend Cardinal 
Lord Azande to address the Conclave on its task." 

There are a few quiet voices of encouragement. "Bravo, 
Azande!" "Ital" Azande rises in a slightly awkward fashion 
and makes his way to the speaker's place. In his embarrass- 
ment, he forgets to kneel at the Altar for the customary 
prayer. Facing the Electors, he looks shy, somewhat timid. 
But his voice is strong and resonant. 

"I feel, my Most Eminent Colleagues, that my interven- 
tion may lack the necessary weight because of my junior 
years in the Sacred College." There are some cries of 
encouragement: "Bravo!" "AvantiJ" 

"I may lack clarity because, despite education and daily 


accustoming, I am not and cannot be of the Western mind. 
Even this language, as I use it, is a translation by my 
mind — my own — in itself alien to the mind of the great 
men who built the institutional Church and fashioned its 
language." He paces over toward one side, and turns 
around. There is a trace of quiet humor on his face. 

"Many of you — all of you, perhaps — know that in the' 
Sistine Chapel, which used to house every Conclave, Mi- 
chelangelo covered the end-wall with the Last Judgment, 
And on the ceiling he portrayed the Prophets. Very few of 
you may know that Michelangelo inserted two self-portraits 
in his frescoes." He swings around and points as if they 
were all looking at the Last Judgment. The power of his 
imagination lifts the minds of his listeners with him. 

"Look!" he says excitedly, pointing. "See that figure of 
one man groping his way out of his tomb: Jesus has sum- 
moned the dead to rise, according to the artist. Notice 
the ashen joy on the face of the man." Then, turning back 
to his listeners: "That's one of Michelangelo's self-portraits. 
In a sense, it is a portrait of me emerging into the light 
of some understanding, my Brothers." There is a rustle 
of approval, some pleasant murmurings of "Bravo!" 
"Bene!" Azande 'smiles boyishly, his angular features of 
mouth and chin expressing some mischievous trait in him. 

As he walks back over toward the President's table he 
looks up at the ceiling again, as if he were in the Sistine 
Chapel. He stops, seems to be searching, then exclaims; 
"Oh, yes! There he is! Jeremiah the Prophet!" There is 
a titter of laughter as the Cardinals anticipate the next 
comparison. "Michelangelo also put himself in Jeremiah's 

"We think of Jeremiah as a prophet of doom, of sor- 
row, of laments over the ruins of Jerusalem. But, you 
know, my Brothers . . ." Azande's face has that casual 
brotherliness and cozy intimacy so natural to Africans, 
"Jeremiah is primarily the prophet, the announcer, of the 
New Covenant. And, if you permit, take me as an an- 
nouncer, a proponent of a new covenant. 

"First, as we say in Africa, let us get rid of the grass. 

"To stand pat and hold on is no alternative for us: 
we would be as the Apostles still hiding in the Upper 
Room waiting for a Holy Spirit — who has already come! 

"Alternatively, gradual and thoughtful change and adap- 

The Final Conclave 401 

tation is no alternative for us: The Church is already 
changed — in its people, and its spirit. 

"So, should we step out and be like all the others, ho- 
mogenize with all the others? Homologize our Church with 
theirs? No, that is no alternative for us either. What right 
have we to be like others? We have no rights. Only sacred 

"But still, could we not forge a socio-political alliance 
with populist — some democratic — elements and move- 
ments? No, that is no alternative for us: V/e have had 
political alliances all the years of over sixteen centuries, 
and look where that has left us! 

"But we must surely, indubitably, beyond the cavil of 
any sharp-eyed enemy, we must be rid of our present status. 
As financial giant. As diplomatic power. As beneficiaries 
and even as wielders of political interests. As real estate 
owners and operators. All that, we must get rid of. 

"Why? Two reasons! One negative, one positive. 

"The negative permits of no gentle treatment, Brothers. 
Ask around you. Walk disguised in the market place, in 
the parliaments of men, in their shops, their money ex- 
changes, their clubs, their homes, their factories. Ask and 
you will blush. We are, according to them, the schizoid 
preachers. We celebrate divinity's love in the morning. We 
sit at Mammon's counting tables in the high noontide. We 
wander after hours along the boulevards of fine living in 
the domain of the 'beautiful people.' 

"We operate — so they say, and they are correct— on 
the supposition that the gossamer substance of our faith 
and the metallic sheen of hard cash fertilize each other. 
We handle water and bread and wine, claiming that God's 
blessing impregnates one and that God's humanity and 
divinity transubstantiates the other two. But with the same 
consecrated hands we pocket the shekels of the Shylocks, 
and we deliver pocketfuls of votes to the chosen political 
party, and we steer contracts to the preferred clubhouse. 
That, my Brothers, is the negative reason. 

"The positive reason is beautiful, consoling, encourag- 
ing." A smile wreathes around the angles of his face. 'It 
is that we — and the Pope we elect — we, the Church, have 
within us a fund of spiritual enlightenment, an inexhaust- 
ible wealth, of moral authority! It is all there. But it is 
leashed in the toils of political commitment, of ruthless 
diplomacy, of moneying and bargaining and buying and 


selling and bartering. No amount of purple, my Brothers, 
no field of cloth-of-gold, no glistening ermine or perfumed 
ceremonies, no amount of human dignity can camouflage 
or make prettier to behold the fact that the greatest riches 
of our Church are caught in the poor trammels of world- 

"In the name of our triumphant Lord, have we not got 
something of our own? As My Lord Domenico said, have 
we not got an initiative all our own? Positively Christian, 
authentically Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic? Have we 
not the basis — the greatest basis — for a general policy to 
which we are all committed? To which our elected candi- 
date must commit himself and his Church? Must commit 
his authority as Pope and as Christ's Vicar? And commit 
every ounce of energy the Church harbors?" 

Suddenly, Azande is interrupted. All heads swing around 
as Thule is on his feet on the near right, and Vasari on 
the far left. Both Cardinals are signaling for permission 
to speak. Both have the question to ask — but for totally 
different reasons. Vasari fears for the old guard, Thule for 
what he sees as the vanguard of the near-future. 

"My Lord Vasari!" It is the President. 

"My Lord Cardinals! I think that My Most Eminent 
Lord, Cardinal Azande, owes us an actual list of concrete 
changes and proposals. We are not here to gather wool." 
Vasari is angry because he is frightened. Azande's hints 
and intimations are as fearful to him as are Thule's actual 

Thule shrugs his shoulders, indicating by a hand motion 
that this also is his question, more or less. 

Azande nods smilingly at Vasari. His mild and winsome 
manner is a perfect foil for the inherent harshness of his 
words. He speaks as if reciting a sweet and nostalgic poem 
of his youth in faraway Africa. 

"On a certain day, at a certain hour, in a certain well- 
known part of the Vatican, by the instrumentality of a 
certain document duly signed, sealed, and delivered, and 
carried over television and radio in 25 languages, via 
satellite and by cable, to all the continents of our world, 
through the written media and by simultaneous presenta- 
tion of official versions of that document to all the bishops 
of all 2,700 dioceses, to all member governments of the 
United Nations, to all international organizations — gov- 
ernmental and non-governmental — let our candidate-Pope 

The Final Conclave 403 

and his Sacred College of Cardinals inform the family of 
man precisely about the following initial measures which 
the Holy See and the Catholic Church is about to im- 

"Number One: the creation of an international, inter- 
denominational, lay Trust Fund organization; and the le- 
gal transfer to its possession of all actual wealth — cash, 
securities, valuables, real estate, promissory notes — that 
at present belong legally and rightfully to the Holy See, 
to its agencies, to its representatives, at home and abroad." 

Extraordinary! Already there is a silence that can only 
be described as dumfounded. Some Cardinals have craned 
forward in their seats, as if they feared to lose a word of 
what he is saying. 

"National divisions of this international Trust Fund or- 
ganization will be created for every sovereign state that 
requires this, according to its own national laws. But 
Churchmen will never again administer, decide upon, or 
allocate the wealth of this Church." By the time Azande 
reaches the end of this statement, the silence is shot through 
with emotions that are almost palpable. On the faces of 
Masaccio, Vasari, Ferro, there are looks of anger and 
consternation and bewilderment. They have been caught 
completely unawares. Lynch is biting his upper lip, gazing 
stolidly in front of him. Thule is obviously at sea — he 
does not quite know where Azande is going: it may be 
all in his favor; it may be against all he proposes. It is 
more radical than he and his group had ever contemplated. 

The Camerlengo is like a man with all the blood drawn 
out of him. No longer dispassionate, detached, occupied 
with note taking, as has been his wont until this extraor- 
dinary moment, he is transfixed — eyes bulging, mouth held 
in a firm line; even his aquiline nose appears more curving 
than ever with the clenching of his lips. 

Walker is the only one who seems more attentive to 
the looks on his fellow Cardinals' faces than to Azande. 
Walker seems to have understood at once all that Azande 
has said and not to be too surprised by a word of it. 

"Number Two,' 1 Azande proceeds relentlessly in spite 
of the consternation he knows he has caused. /The termi- 
nation of all diplomatic missions to the Holy See from 
sovereign states and nations; and the simultaneous recall 
of all Vatican diplomatic missions accredited to sovereign 


governments and to international organizations." It would 
have seemed impossible for the shock of Azande's first 
proposal to deepen; but his Number Two does it. 

Still Azande has further to go. 

"Number Three: Formal and legally drawn documents 
containing the official renunciation by the Holy See of all 
territorial possessions constituted juridically by the Lateran 
Treaty of 1929 between the State of Italy and the Holy 

This is too much. Several muttered conversations have 
started. Cardinal Vasari does the extraordinary thing of 
rising and crossing over to talk wtih Angelico. Azande 
pauses. The Cardinal President, seemingly unruffled, rings 
his silver bell: "If the Eminent Cardinal will regain his 
seat, and their Eminences will give His Eminence, My 
Lord Azande, time, I am sure what remains for him to say 
will be of short duration." Vasari returns to his place. 

Azande continues: "Number Four: The putting on no- 
tice of everybody concerned — governments, political orga- 
nizations, financial groups, cartels, chancelleries, minis- 
tries of foreign affairs — that henceforward the Holy See 
reserves the right — the duty — to criticize, to critique, to 
condemn, to approve, as it sees fit and as the principles 
of its faith dictate. Unencumbered by any motive arising 
out of political, financial, or diplomatic ties. For there will 
be no such ties. Not ever again! And that henceforth no 
one should be surprised by any such action that the Holy 
See may take without earthly fear, or hope, of earthly 

Now the Camerlengo is on his feet. Thule is on his feet. 
Vasari, Riccioni, and Lynch too — all asking for permis- 
sion to intervene. With all the dignity of the Camerlengo 
of the Universal Church, this senior official is most persis- 
tent in his request for "permission to question the Most 
Eminent and Esteemed Lord Cardinal, My Lord Azande.* 1 
He obtains permission. 

Glancing hurriedly at a pile of notes in front of him, 
the Camerlengo starts, his manner urgent and pressuring. 
"Will His Eminence explain what all this has to do with 
the internal condition of the Church? All these measures 
cover our external relations. And, beyond that, there are 
extraordinarily serious questions totally ignored by your, 
er, so-called proposal. For instance, who is to structure 
this supposed Trust Fund? How are we to be sure that 

The Final Conclave 405 

another financial farce, worse than the Sindona affair, 
would not result? What is to substitute for the diplomatic 
channels of communication with the various governments 
of the nations, if we wipe out our own diplomatic corps? 
And if we abrogate all treaty arrangements with the Italian 
State, what of the Vatican itself, to mention only the most 
obvious question? Has His Eminence any idea of what 
such restructuring involves?" Then he sits down with the 
air of a man dealing with madness, shaking his head. 

Azande goes to his table and lifts two heavy files from 
it. He lifts them, saying simply: "The Camerlengo — and 
all of you, Eminent Brothers, for I will have it polycopied 
—will find here a very respectable skeleton blueprint of 
the processes of restructuring." He moves again to the 
center of the floor. 

"As to the internal structure of the Church, my point 
Number Five (which I did not reach) outlines the general 
principle I would use in judging that. It is: that the Con- 
clave will appoint, in conjunction with the election of a 
new Pope, a committee of seven or eleven or thirteen 
Cardinals. This Commission will prepare for the Holy Fa- 
ther certain preliminary documents within a couple of 
months. One document recommending revisions of all that 
the post-conciliar Commissions have decided about the 
Liturgy of the Mass and of the Sacraments." Thule shifts 
in his seat impatiently, perhaps angrily. 

"A second document will contain the principles for a 
proposed restructuring of the Vatican and of the interna- 
tional structure of Church Government. 

"A third document will list deviations from official doc- 
trines, together with the names of the theologians, philos- 
ophers, writers, publicists, bishops, priests, and intellectuals 
involved in the active promulgation of those deviations, 
evident since the end of the Second Vatican Council in 
1965. This document will also clarify the substance, mean- 
ing, and importance of such deviations, in terms of faith." 

Thule is on his feet. He now must have the answer to 
one question. "On what basis, Eminent Brother, will the 
Church deal with the political and social problems and 
forces let loose on our world today?" Thule's leonine head 
is lifted in direct challenge. 

Azande has expected this question — from Thule. He 
looks at the Cardinal, then at the other Electors, and then 
walks down the Hall between the rows of Cardinals, all 


the while looking at the floor. He stops when he is oppo- 
site Thule, .but it is at the Electors massed at the end 
of the Hall that he looks. Then he turns and faces the 
whole assembly. When he speaks, the Electors hear the 
authority ringing in his voice, and feel the inner resolu- 
tion of this young black whose grandparents were not 
even Christian. 

"It would be easy, so easy — glib, that's the word — to 
answer the Most Eminent Lord Cardinal in his own words. 
After all . , ." a quizzical smile spreads across his mouth, 
"My Lord Cardinal would have us trust those who have 
already killed, maimed, destroyed, imprisoned, executed, 
calumniated, persecuted the Church all over Europe and 
Asia." His voice becomes harsh in protest. "Trust the Mao- 
ists, Reverend Cardinal? Trust the KGB, Most Eminent 
Brother? Trust that castrated Communist jackal, Kadar, 
Most Eminent Cardinal?" Thule is taken aback. 

Then Azande's voice sinks back to normal. "So? I would 
be entitled to say: Let's trust in Our Lord!" He smiles in 
mock apology. "But that is not the answer. My answer is 
to deplore your poverty of alternatives, Eminent Cardinal! 
You and everyone who has neglected one essential truth 
of our faith, and one irrefragable promise of our beloved 
Jesus Christ." He looks up toward Angelico's corner, and 
over to the Camertengo, then to where Vasari sits. 

"That truth and that promise are one." He hits that 
word 'one' with high emphasis and repeats it: "one! 

"Think Eminences! Imagine and recall to yourselves 
that day of all days! See Jesus conferring the power of 
the keys on Simon Peter near Hermon. Look! Eminent 
Brothers! Look, each one of you, at that scene in your 
mind's eye. We all know it. We know the words by heart. 
In Latin. ... In Greek. In our native languages. Yet," 
he looks all about him, he asks everyone there — everyone 
everywhere, "have we really grasped what those keys rep- 
resent? What power is thereby given us?" He stalks up 
the aisle between the Cardinals again, musing as he goes. 

"Somewhere along the line of our horizontal history on 
this globe, we lost hold of that vertical piumbline. We con- 
fused that power with the effects of money, of political 
sway, of military advantage, of cultural enrichment, of 
humanistic glory. And, to tell you the truth, as I see it, 
Eminent Brothers, I do not think there are ten men 
among us today who know what power in spirit is; and 

The Final Conclave, 407 

rarely has any one of us seen it used in our day. And when 
it was used beneath our very eyes, did we recognize it for 
what it was? I doubt that. I doubt that. 

"Let us meditate for one moment on that power. For 
what I propose in the name of the Eminent Cardinals who 
stand with me is that we remodel, refashion, refurbish all 
Papal and Vatican and Church activity, so that we rely 
only on that power. Only on that power." 

There is a sudden, not disturbing, sound of approba- 
tion from the black Cardinals. It is strange but unwontedly 
exciting, deep, waving, drumlike. First from Makonde, 
then echoed down the right row by Chaega, Koi-Lo-Po, 
coming on the left from Lotuko, Nei Hao, Duala, Lang 
Che-Ning, Saleke, and echoing from the one black at the 
back of the assembly — Bamleke. 

Coming from their chests and throats, the sound is a 
long, slow, resounding upbeat flow rising loud and high, 
then dropping off a cliff of sound to a very low and sus- 
tained basso tone. The sound is not molded into words. 
But it is inflected and modulated by an emotion so raw, 
so naked, so natural, so collective, so evident, that every- 
one understands. It is as if, to convey the experience of 
seeing a sunrise, the human throat formed sounds that con- 
veyed not the idea of a sunrise, but the emotions aroused 
by a sunrise. It has a primordial quality that affects every- 
one, disturbing some, exciting others, making everyone sit 
up and look at Azande, who is smiling the smile of Africa 
at the black Cardinals, and they are smiling back at him 
and then at each other, and then at everyone else. This 
applause is a near-perfect expression of agreement, sym- 
pathy, and encouragement. 

"This power/' Azande's words command silence again, 
"this power, is not one of healing sick limbs, or seeing at 
a distance, or being in two places at the same time, or 
reading the secrets of the mind, or foretelling the future. 

"This power is a force emanating from God, inhabiting 
those who are in God's grace. Power in spirit. And in the 
Keeper of the Keys and in his ministers and in the priests 
and in the people. This is a power that resides in them, 
that gives them moral authority — according to their grade 
in God's Kingdom of the Spirit, 

"In Peter, whoever he be, the power is preeminent and 
forceful and unbeatable. With it, he can evoke the loyal- 
ty, the obedience, and the actions of all the faithful. He 


can literally oppose enemies and oppressors and all evil, 
and they cannot conquer him or the faithful or their faith. 

"It would be easy to recall the example of Pope Leo the 
Great, alone, unarmed, walking out to meet Attila the 
Hun and his sixty thousand warriors. Leo alone, by force 
of moral power, persuaded Attila to turn away and not 
sack Rome. But that was 1500 years ago at least. And the 
distance in time makes the event unreal for us moderns. 

"But we have modern examples nearer home. How, do 
you think, have the Poles survived with their Church intact 
in Stalinistic Poland? Do you think they and their Church 
did that because of their bank balance? Or their stock in- 
vestment? Or their real estate holdings? Their political 
clout? Their diplomatic influence? Not a bit of that! You 
know that better than I. Not a bit. Only because they 
held on to that power in spirit! 

"How often in recent history has the Pope and the 
Vatican relied solely on that power? How often, relying 
on it alone, have they wielded it? 

"And not the Pope only. Let us face the truth. For many 
of us Bishops, for thousands of priests, for millions of 
layfolk, this power-in-spirit, this moral authority has been 
obscured, disguised, transmuted, degraded. Above all, it 
has been confused with other things. We have become 
indentured as slaves to the fearful rigidities of a politico- 
economic system. And neither do we realize it, nor do we 
know how to get out of it. My God! Eminent Brothers, 
my God! And we rush to our brokers and our bankers 
and our realtors and our diplomats to solve our problems, 
instead of relying on the power of Christ. 'Ask of the 
gods,' said Socrates, 'only for good things.' 'Ask for any- 
thing in my name,' said Jesus, 'and it shall be given to 
you.' Have we forgotten all that? Is it all a joke? An an- 
cient story. May Jesus help us to let the scales fall from 
our eyes. 

"And this is how confused we all are. We confound spir- 
itual power with psychic energy. We confuse soul with 
psyche. We confuse God's inspiration with the irrational 
subconscious. Piety becomes behavioral psychology. Theol- 
ogy bows to anthropology. Moral law and ethics are treated 
as nothing more than and nothing different from sociolog- 
ical quantification. We define human history with Lenin's 
chilling phrases and boil them down to 'Who has done 
what to whom?' We define divine salvation in Darwin's 

The Final Conclave 409 

crass obliteration of spirit. And that boils down to 'What 
has become what?* Love is reduced to physical sex. The 
dignity of the mendicant is reduced to the claims of welfare 
recipients. Freedom is debased as the absence of any con- 
trol. Liberty is transformed into resentment against any 
limit on behavior. 

"The Sacrifice of the Mass is all but obliterated by the 
indignity of a 'holy meaL' Evil is equated with negative 
environmental factors; good is a refrigerator, a dishwasher, 
a TV set. 

"The charity of Christ is confused with minority quotas; 
the works of mercy, with social activism; worship of God, 
with the fellowship of men and women sipping cocktails; 
unity and harmony, with majoritarian whims; civility, 
with no inflation; the fitness of things, with good plumbing; 
liberation, with more money; self-control, with the license 
to kill unborn babies; the dignity of man, with male sod- 
omy; the emancipation of women, with Lesbianism; the 
truth, with repeated publicity of lies and half-lies and 

"And in this Conclave, the unbought grace of life stands 
in danger of being confused — for the last time — with fi- 
nancial subsidies from socialist governments. 

"My God! Eminent Brothers, Oh, my God! Good Jesus! 
Where have we got to!" Azande's eyes are full of tears. 
His body is quavering. His fists are closing and opening. 
He stands silent and staring down the assembly for some 

Someone clears his throat in the absolute silence, as if 
he was about to say something out loud. The sound sets 
off a reaction. It comes without warning, but as if on 
cue. Some start clapping their hands. Then a few more. 
And a few more. The Camerlengo looks around quickly 
from one applauding Cardinal to another, alternately glar- 
ing and questioning with his eyes. The applause rises in 
volume. One Cardinal cries "Bravo!" Thirty cry "Bravo!" 
Already two have stood up, still clapping their hands and 
crying "Bravo!" Then all along the lines of seated Car- 
dinals, Electors clamber to their feet dropping their papers 
on the little tables in front of the thrones, clapping, smil- 
ing, crying "Bravo!" "Bravo!" "Azande!" "Magnifico!" 
"Well said, Azande!" "Bravo!" Some few remain seated — 
the Camerlengo, Lynch, Thule, Marquez, Manuel, Buff, 
Franzus. But they, too, rise after a few moments; and, if 


only as an act of consentient presence here, join the ap- 

Some few Cardinals are weeping openly; one or two 
are seen shaking hands, as if together they had witnessed 
some scene or heard some words that together they had 
prayed and hoped for. Some pristine emotion has risen 
unbidden among these dignified and highly egotistical and 
personalistic men — career-men, bureaucrats, politicians, 
holy bishops, scholars, diplomats, men of the world. All 
know that as individuals, and as a College of Cardinals, 
they have suddenly seen some shining image, some shim- 
mering ideal resting among them uninvited, winsome, the 
real object of their lives, and the highest object of the 
best moments of their spirit. 

And, they know that that thin, angular, youthful black 
figure standing at the long table has been the occasion and 
the instrument for this experience. 

"We see, Azande! Don't worry. We understand! We are 
with you, Azande! Azande has spoken for us all. The Holy 
Spirit has spoken from Africa! Azande! Jesus is with you, 
Azande! Azande!" The black Cardinal is trying to say , 
something above the uproar. And some Electors start shush- 
ing the applause, waving their arms and hands: "Shhhh! 
Shhhh! Brothers! Shhh! Let him speak!" The clamor dies 
down. All look at Azande. If anyone there had any doubts 
about Azande's ability to read an audience or to seize an 
opportunity, all such doubts are laid to rest. He looks 
steadily at the Electors on each side and down to the mass 
of Electors at the back of the assembly. 

"Can we do it, my Brothers?" he finally says. "Can we 
do it still?" 

There are several spontaneous cries. "Ita!" "Ita!" "Ita!" 
"In nomine Cristi! Ita!" (In the name of Christ, yes!) "Si 
volumus! Ita!" (If we really want to, yes). 

"If we really want to," Azande takes up the last excla- 
mation, raising his own voice to be heard above the cries 
from the assembly. "If we have recourse to the Spirit of 
Jesus. Even if the whole human world were covered with 
concrete and all our lives were mechanized in steel and 
chrome, even so! Some day, somehow, our faith and our 
reliance on that Spirit would crack that cement. And 
through that solitary crack the flower of faith and true 
worship of the Risen Christ would blossom and grow. That 

The Final Conclave 41 1 

gleaming inanimate machinery would be festooned in the 
glory of God's love. And over the bleak landscape of our 
human life would break the sunrise of the Resurrection I 
Believe it, my Brothers! Believe it! Believe it with the 
Apostles! With Peter! With Clement! With Leo! With 
Paul! With Pius! With all the saints! With the faithfull 
Believe it! Believe it and it shall be done!" 

The tumult breaks out again. "We believe it!" "You 
are Peter!" "We believe it!" The clapping and cries of 
"Bravo!" ring through the Hall. Even the young Mon- 
signore seated outside the door hears the noise. He rises, 
his face flushing with excitement. He thinks: A Pope has 
been chosen! He waits. 

Behind the closed doors, the enthusiasm holds. Azande 
has no intention of letting it go. And what he now ac- 
complishes takes no more than one minute. His energy is 
almost spent. His emotions are beginning to recede from 
him. But he knows what he must do. In a quick glance 
around the assembly, he takes it all in. There is, for the 
moment, a sea of affirmation and warmth — arms raised, 
eyes lit up with expectancy, voices echoing again and 
again. And, in among those scarlet-clad figures with faces 
raised to Azande, there are the stock-still members of the 
opposition, a Thule, a Franzus, a Buff, their faces set, 
their eyes understanding more than their applauding col- 
leagues. They, standing on the sidelines of this collective 
feeling, sense Azande's next move. But they are powerless 
to stop it. 

"Brothers!" It is the first time that Azande raises his 
voice to the level of a proclamation. He raises both arms, 
palms facing outward to the assembly and gently motion- 
ing for silence. All the cries stop. Electors are held in the 
midflight of their applause. "Brothers! Will you in your 
majority, will you declare the general policy I have out- 
lined, will you give it the oldest form of Christian endorse- 
ment — your voice! your voices!" He pauses, then shouts 
in one loud triumphant cry: "Ital" 

For just a couple of seconds the whole assembly hangs 
there. And, suddenly, as one body it decides. It reacts. 

Once more, it is the blacks who begin. Drawing out 
the first syllable of that affirmative Ita, they stay on it, 
prolonging the "ee" sound until one, seven, twenty, fifty, 
ninety, over one hundred voices, have joined in. That "ee" 


has now become a full-throated fluency. As natural-born 
chorus leaders, the blacks raise the pitch of their voices 
while prolonging that sound. All instinctively understand 
that at a certain high point in that rising pitch the second 
syllable of Ita will come. All have their eyes on Azande 
who is in control. tjis hands, his eyes, the shape of his 
mouth as he forms that syllable "ee" — all his listeners are 
watching them. This assembly is now acting as one body. 

Magically, when that second syllable comes, the major- 
ity of those voices hit it hard. And the young Monsignore 
— who has hastily summoned the priest-confessors, hears 
the tail-end of that rising "ee" capped by a thunderous 
and prolonged "ta!" Azande, on stage, holds his arms 
level and immediately cries out sharply "Ita!" The Car- 
dinals repeat "Ita!" And then it is a row of twelve or 
fifteen Ita's coming like the blows of a hammer driving 
home a nail already sunk deep into the wood. 

Now, Azande has his last duty to perform. He raises 
his hands for silence, "Brothers! What are we waiting 
for? The Holy Spirit has spoken! We know our genefal 
policy. We need a Pope! We need a Pope! The Church 
needs a Pope! Jesus wills us to have a new Pope! Shall 
we not vote? Now? Here and now? Shall we not elect the 
successor to Peter and the Vicar of Jesus? Shall we? Does 
it seem good to the Holy Spirit and to us?" 

There is one more resounding Ita followed by hand- 
clapping. Azande looks around at the Presidents, then 
down to Domenico. The old man is sitting back motion- 
less, his face drawn. But in his eyes, Azande reads: "Well 
done! Well done! Stop now. Get down." Azande turns, 
bows to the Presidents. As he walks to his place, the Car- 
dinal President speaks. "Very well, Eminent Brothers. Your 
will is clear. The general policy as proposed by our Most 
Eminent Lord, My Lord Cardinal Azande, is official Con- 
clave policy. We will proceed to a balloting and scrutiny. 
Will the Scrutineers, Revisers, and Infirmarii please come 
forward, so that we can distribute the ballot papers." 

While the ballot papers are being distributed, two Car- 
dinals leave their places. The young Cardinal with the 
stutter, unnoticed by many, goes over to Domenico and 
drops to his knees in front of the older man, his face in 
his hands. Those nearby see Domenico's lips moving, his 
right hand making the sign of the Cross. The Electors 
only surmise what is being transacted between the two. 

The Final Conclave 413 

When the young Cardinal rises and goes back to his place, 
the Electors glance at his face and then look away hastily 
in pain and embarrassment. Most of them, priests though 
they are, have forgotten and cannot take the sight of a 
face that portrays the peculiar peace and that rather fright- 
ening strength of repentance done, of humiliation accepted, 
of love renewed. It is too much. 

The other Cardinal is Thule. Stiff as a Rhinish oak, his 
face as immobile as an Alpine peak, large eyes reddened 
with feeling, Thule walks with a rare dignity and followed 
by 117 pairs of eyes. He stops in front of Azande who is 
already seated. Azande is about to rise for the older man. 
A flicker of Thule's gaze stops Aaznde, like a hand placed 
on the chest; and he sits there, his black face lifted up as 
he looks into Thule's eyes. Then, spontaneously, Azande 
clasps his own two hands together and raises them to 
Thule. Thule takes them into his own, bowing his head 
over them. Some word — short, gentle, whispered — passes 
between the European and the African. Then, slowly un- 
hurried, as if he were walking in a total solitude of his 
own, Thule goes back to his place. 

By this time, the ballots have been distributed. The Car- 
dinal President takes off his glasses and looks at the as- 
sembly. "It is customary that the Cardinal presiding over 
what promises to be a definitive vote, has the privilege of 
saying a few unofficial words. I feel — as you all feel — that 
the agony of our choosing the next occupant of the throne 
of Peter should be ended as expeditiously and as efficiently 
and as easefully as possible. Now, in other words. And in 
fraternal union and peace." He looks around meditatively 
at his fellow Cardinals. 

"The outside world will never understand it. But we have 
had moments of heart-rending experience in this Conclave, 
my Brothers. Something unique and precious has hap- 
pened here to us. Eh?" He looks around again and receives 
nods of assent and smiles of encouragement. "The great- 
ness of our Lord Jesus, I suppose, has passed in front of 
us, and we have touched the hem of his trailing glory. And 
grace has gone out from him to all of us. 

"We have experienced that nameless breath of Jesus' 
inspiration blowing gently over our spirits. We, like other 
poor mortals, would not wish to examine its supremacy too 
closely for fear of the demands it might make. And yet 
we are alone now. Absolutely alone with Jesus. We cannot 


afford to forget his presence. Much less pass it over in 

"We now choose for the highest of motives. There is 
no one of us here who has not been thoroughly informed 
of our situation. We are at the end of one road. Perhaps 
no one has been forced to see, as we have, how the pres- 
ence and the power of Jesus, the good Lord of the Church, 
has for so long been invested with the toils of imperialism, 
financial strength, diplomatic panoply, cultural elitism, and 
personal ambitions. For so long! 

"Yet there is not one of us now — no matter how world- 
ly our hearts have been or become — who does not realize 
as perhaps never before that this presence and this power 
is among us men. But it is not of mankind. It is the only 
force uncontrollable and uncontrolled by men's power, by 
our sins and faults, and by the plots of the Evil One. 

"We are the temporary holders of Roman power. We 
will bleed and die, each in his own way. But the heart of 
the Roman power rests safe in a guarantee of permanency. 
It will wreak its effects — dire and beautiful, by turns — 
effortlessly among men. And neither the evil nor the 
sanctity of Popes and Cardinals can violate or better that 
power, any more than the ravages of time can shatter it. 

"What we can do, what we must do, what we are 
about to do now, is an awesome and terrible thing, my 
Brothers. For it is terrible and awesome to fall into the 
hands of the living God, And that is precisely where we 
have fallen. For this precious and fate-laden moment, we 
will stand outside of time, independent of space, as it 
were. And, as at Hermon, once again we will hear Jesus 
saying through us: 'You are Peter.' We can blaspheme — 
you know how! Or, we can bow to his will — you know 
how! We all know how! 

"In marking his ballot, each one of us is touching the 
intimacy of the great mysterious Lord to whom each one 
of us will personally answer for what he does here today. 
And can our wait for that answering be long for any of 
us, my Brothers?" He lets his gaze travel over the faces. 
"A few years? A year? The Lord knows best. Praised be 
the Lord!" 

He looks down at his notes, then folds them and places 
them in his briefcase. All the while, there is no movement 
or sound among the Electors. Then, quietly, he raises his 

The Final Conclave 415 

right hand, gesturing with a forward motion of his out- 
stretched fingers — the signal to begin. 

Silence falls on the Conclave. One by one, each Car- 
dinal bends over his writing table, takes a ballot paper, 
and opens it to write the name of the next Pope.